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Why is Norway not a hockey power?

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Old
02-17-2010, 02:52 AM
  #26
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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
Out of curiosity, does anybody know why Norweigan hockey lags behind Sweden and Finland? The Norweigans have a pretty good reputation as winter athletes going by their Olympic history and are in a similar climate to their northern neighbours Finland and Sweden and I assume they have similar population numbers and lifestyles. That said, why are they such a non factor in the hockey world? It just seems kind of weird that hockey is popular in neighbouring countries and in Central Europe, but not in a place where you'd generally expect it to flourish. Any ideas or definitive answers on why Norway isn't good at hockey?
Great question, and one thats very hard to answear.

Like saying that they don't have enough rinks or that they like other sports better -- is kind of missing the point. They are all chain-reactions from not being good.

I think the reason goes back to the 30's-50's. Sports where very different. There were no organization compared to today et c. Many athlets competed in several sports, soccer summertime and hockey winter time, for example. During that time, Sweden threw together a team just like many other nations. But the team Sweden threw together was good! Like before some tournaments, they didn't even have sticks to practise with -- that shows you something about the state of the game. They practised without sticks, and before one tournamnet they didn't even have ice. Then just before the tournament a load arrived and they could play. Basically hitting the ice for the first time in a year when the tournament started. But the opposition wasn't much better, and they could win a couple of medals. Then in 53', when Canada boycotted the WCH's for political reasons, Sweden could win a gold. And it was a big deal in Sweden. It gave us a identity as a hockeynation.

That kind of planted a seed of love for the game in Sweden. Then in reality, Sweden was not a good hockey nation for 40 years basically. Especially during the 70's we were miles behind Canada and the Soviets. Miles behind. Our hockeyplayers had ordinary jobs, the Soviets and Canadians didn't. But somewhere in the back of our heads, we Swedes, had that seed that was planted in the 50's, a strim of recognition that we were a country to be counted on in the game of hockey. So in the late 70's, early 80's, there was a tremendous push in Sweden to catch up. And it worked.

In Norway, Germany, Great Britain among others, they didn't get that identity. But don't forget, those nations where basically on par with Sweden and co' back then, in the 20's-50's. But when hockey took off in the 70's-80's, they where hopelessly left behind. And its hard for them to catch up, because they are always chasing what we used to be, since we constantly are developing too. Like look at the Swiss, they have a damn good hockey team no doubt. We all agree that hockeyplayers now are better then 15-20 years ago. The Swiss are today basically on par with the US in general, while lacking the elite talent that the US have. So basically, while some might not buy it, I would like to state that this Swiss team probably could really challenge the top US, Swede or Finn team of like 92'. They aren't far behind in other words. But that 10-15 years is hard to catch up.

And the reason for Norway not having any rinks, or liking other sports better, thats of course because they are not good at hockey.

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02-17-2010, 02:52 AM
  #27
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Originally Posted by Chimp View Post
The biggest problem is a lack of hockey rinks. Currently, there are 37 of them in Norway. When Sweden and Finland took steps towards improving the hockey infrastructure, Norway didn't. Even in Norway's highest league, the conditions are quite bad (the locker room aren't in the same building as the rink, etc...)

I think it has to do with culture, hockey just didn't stick with the Norwegians, they prefer cross-country skiing and such. According to this article, such conceptions such as hockey had too much east block feeling stuck to it. If you played hockey in Norway, you were stupid. The success they had in soccer 1994, didn't help the hockey program.

It's a bad spiral. The interest in hockey is low, so media doesn't write about it. Hockey doesn't get alot of money and players, so the interest is kept low. And so on... and those few Norwegians who become good players, don't stay in their own league, but usually play in SEL.
37?

There's gotta be more than that in the lower-mainland just around Vancouver hell there's 7 in the district I live in and it only has 60,000 or so residents...

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02-17-2010, 02:53 AM
  #28
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Originally Posted by beavboyz View Post
They showed it before the game. I think it was something like 6800 registered players, 37 hockey rinks

Compared to Canada with about 500 000 registered players.
And over 13000 rinks (just under 2500 are "indoor"). That's a pretty big number when you think about it. Canada has way more indoor rinks than the US has rinks in total, but I guess that shouldn't be too surprising, as they probably wouldn't have much success setting one up in Florida or New Mexico... Per capita, though, pretty interesting numbers (as is the fact that Russia apparently only has 3 outdoor rinks, 260 total, in such a hockey hotbed and the biggest country on the planet).

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02-17-2010, 02:56 AM
  #29
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Originally Posted by LickTheEnvelope View Post
37?

There's gotta be more than that in the lower-mainland just around Vancouver hell there's 7 in the district I live in and it only has 60,000 or so residents...
I don't believe data about rinks in country's. I've heard Latvia have 4 rinks. That just can't be true.

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02-17-2010, 03:08 AM
  #30
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I don't believe data about rinks in country's. I've heard Latvia have 4 rinks. That just can't be true.
23. Link.

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02-17-2010, 03:08 AM
  #31
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Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
They certainly excel at individual winter sports, however I'm pretty handball is not only a team sport, but one that they excel at far better than the Finns, at least (the Swedes are the best in Scandinavia at THAT too, and possibly the best team out there).
As a Dane I take offense to this statement - and Norwegians would do the same, I presume. In fact, Swedes are arguably the worst in Scandinavia in handball (:-)), and that is even the case for both men and women (Finland is not a Scandinavian country).

Norway is not 'very good in soccer' either, but they are indeed better than Canada and probably as good as the US. In other words, it makes little sense to say that Norwegians are not doing well in team sports.

Also, just for reference (and I know Norway qualified, we didn't, but still possibly of interest), Denmark currently has 19 rinks, I think.

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02-17-2010, 03:16 AM
  #32
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There's a Norwegian poster who seems to have answered the question earlier in this thread, but no one has responded to what he said.
I think one point he mentioned is interesting - hockey is associated with thugs and bullies. I am in Germany and have heard it said that hockey is considered a sport for the the "lower" classes (one above handball!), so I have heard, I can't actually qualify that statement. But if in Norway there is a similar perception, then I wouldn't be surprised if hockey never took off given that Norway is one of the richest nations in the world with the highest GDP.

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02-17-2010, 03:16 AM
  #33
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Originally Posted by Mikkel View Post
As a Dane I take offense to this statement - and Norwegians would do the same, I presume. In fact, Swedes are arguably the worst in Scandinavia in handball (:-)), and that is even the case for both men and women (Finland is not a Scandinavian country).
Well I know that strength in sports can ebb and flow with time, but if we're to talk about the history of handball, does Sweden not have by FAR the greater number of appearances and "golds" in international play? And does Norway not fall somewhere in between Sweden and Finland in that respect? Historically speaking, of course. If that is mistaken, I will gladly accept a link to accurate information, and will delete the one I have now.

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Originally Posted by Mikkel View Post
Norway is not 'very good in soccer' either, but they are indeed better than Canada and probably as good as the US. In other words, it makes little sense to say that Norwegians are not doing well in team sports.
I'm pretty sure I was making the statement that they ARE decent at team sports. Or did that little part have nothing to do with my post? In any event, Norway is definitely good enough at soccer to be ranked top 32 (of 202 teams with international points on the ranking scale) in consecutive years by FIFA, which is just behind Denmark, and well ahead of Sweden and Finland, which was my main point (since there's a lot of comparing of team sports within Scandinavia here). The USA is 14th, Canada is 50-something.

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Originally Posted by Mikkel View Post
Also, just for reference (and I know Norway qualified, we didn't, but still possibly of interest), Denmark currently has 19 rinks, I think.
22. All indoor.

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02-17-2010, 03:33 AM
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikkel View Post
Norway is not 'very good in soccer' either, but they are indeed better than Canada and probably as good as the US. In other words, it makes little sense to say that Norwegians are not doing well in team sports.
As a fan of Canadian Soccer (I know I am a sucker for punishment), Canada fails in international soccer for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into. With a few corrections I think Canada could be as good as Norway .

But the USA is clearly better than Norway, many of the top American players play a level higher than the players of Norway and their current form in all international competitions prove to me they are better than Norway. The USA would slot nicely against Denmark or Sweden I think

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02-17-2010, 03:40 AM
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
I'm pretty sure I was making the statement that they ARE decent at team sports. Or did that little part have nothing to do with my post? In any event, Norway is definitely good enough at soccer to be ranked top 32 (of 202 teams with international points on the ranking scale) in consecutive years by FIFA, which is just behind Denmark, and well ahead of Sweden and Finland, which was my main point (since there's a lot of comparing of team sports within Scandinavia here). The USA is 14th, Canada is 50-something.
22. All indoor.
Fifa rankings are a flawed way to look at teams really. For example Croatia is 11th Egypt is 10th, and England is 9th. I have no doubt Egypt would be destoryed by England or Croatia

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02-17-2010, 04:02 AM
  #36
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Originally Posted by finchster View Post
Fifa rankings are a flawed way to look at teams really. For example Croatia is 11th Egypt is 10th, and England is 9th. I have no doubt Egypt would be destoryed by England or Croatia
First of all, I agree, but anything can happen in any given game, really.
Secondly, as "flawed" as the system might be, at least points are earned and accumulated over time.
And finally, we're talking about countries and societies on the whole here, not necessarily just the strength of one representative squad; which is what lends a bit of credibility to use of the rankings as they seem to reflect the strength of the current squad and the level of development of the game in those countries rather than simply predict the results of the World Cup if it were played tomorrow, for example. I haven't studied it very hard, nor examined each country in depth to see if the ALL fit my cursory observation, but that's my impression.

Obviously the rankings reflect the strength of the current team more heavily though, ever since they started being calculated over a 4 year period as opposed to 8 (which would have better measured a country's ability to produce/develop talent as various players join and leave the club over time).

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02-17-2010, 04:26 AM
  #37
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Originally Posted by Ola View Post
I don't believe data about rinks in country's. I've heard Latvia have 4 rinks. That just can't be true.
Yeah, I don't understand what rinks are they counting. IIHF pages say Finland has 27 outdoor rinks. That just can't be true. In the ****** little town where I'm living there's at least 3 (and 1 indoor rink.)

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02-17-2010, 04:56 AM
  #38
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Originally Posted by Ohashi_Jouzu View Post
Well I know that strength in sports can ebb and flow with time, but if we're to talk about the history of handball, does Sweden not have by FAR the greater number of appearances and "golds" in international play? And does Norway not fall somewhere in between Sweden and Finland in that respect? Historically speaking, of course. If that is mistaken, I will gladly accept a link to accurate information, and will delete the one I have now.

I'm pretty sure I was making the statement that they ARE decent at team sports. Or did that little part have nothing to do with my post? In any event, Norway is definitely good enough at soccer to be ranked top 32 (of 202 teams with international points on the ranking scale) in consecutive years by FIFA, which is just behind Denmark, and well ahead of Sweden and Finland, which was my main point (since there's a lot of comparing of team sports within Scandinavia here). The USA is 14th, Canada is 50-something.

22. All indoor.
First off, I know you were arguing that Norway is good at team sports, and I tried to agree with that. I just put it wrongly, so it looked like I was making an argument against you - apologies on my part.

Sweden was the powerhouse in mens handball for many years. At one point in the 1990es they were practically unbeatable, although they never actually won the Olympics, I think. For the past 10 years, they haven't been quite as good, and they are not really competing for medals anymore. Denmark, on the other hand, has several recent international medals including an European Championship gold from 2008 (they came in 5th in the 2010 tournament last month, and this was considered a mild dissappointment). Norway is a second-tier nation, but they are probably closer to being elite than Sweden these years (in the EC, Norway was 7th and Sweden 15th, respectively. The last Nordic country Iceland was 3rd btw.).

In women's handball (which is a big sport around these parts - but pretty much only around these parts), Norway is possibly the most consistent country during the past 20 years. Denmark has 3 Olympic golds, and a bunch of other titles, during the same timeframe. Sweden rarely makes it to the later stages of the tournament.

Finland has little handball history (that I know of), but the sport is pretty big within Swedish-speaking parts of the country (a minority of 7-9% of the population). However, it is completely ignored by the rest. [Think: The exact same Finnish national team tidbit might make the frontpage of Swedish-languaged media, without getting a column of ink in Finnish.] FWIW one of the best female players in the world is Finnish, but represents Norway in international competition - an obvious choice as it is pretty much between a guaranteed medal and not qualifying for tournaments at all.

As for football/soccer, no Scandinavian countries can really be considered powerhouses, or IMO 'very good'. This does not mean that they are bad, merely that the international competition (as measured by number of countries) is far greater than in hockey. I am btw surprised to learn that Norway ranks better than Sweden btw, as I would not consider better by any means. Rather the contrary, actually, as Sweden has been the better Scandinavian country for the past decade (hopefully that has changed! ). Anyway, I think all three Scandinavian countries, like the US and for that matter Japan (?), are maybe third-tier countries - good enough to show up in international competition, and to put up a fight when there, but neither favorites nor serious contenders for medalling.

I am honestly a bit puzzled by the 22 hockey rinks in Denmark. Trying to add them up in my head, but so far no success. Thanks for the link though!

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02-17-2010, 05:02 AM
  #39
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Originally Posted by Mikkel View Post
First off, I know you were arguing that Norway is good at team sports, and I tried to agree with that. I just put it wrongly, so it looked like I was making an argument against you - apologies on my part.

Sweden was the powerhouse in mens handball for many years. At one point in the 1990es they were practically unbeatable, although they never actually won the Olympics, I think. For the past 10 years, they haven't been quite as good, and they are not really competing for medals anymore. Denmark, on the other hand, has several recent international medals including an European Championship gold from 2008 (they came in 5th in the 2010 tournament last month, and this was considered a mild dissappointment). Norway is a second-tier nation, but they are probably closer to being elite than Sweden these years (in the EC, Norway was 7th and Sweden 15th, respectively. The last Nordic country Iceland was 3rd btw.).

In women's handball (which is a big sport around these parts - but pretty much only around these parts), Norway is possibly the most consistent country during the past 20 years. Denmark has 3 Olympic golds, and a bunch of other titles, during the same timeframe. Sweden rarely makes it to the later stages of the tournament.

Finland has little handball history (that I know of), but the sport is pretty big within Swedish-speaking parts of the country (a minority of 7-9% of the population). However, it is completely ignored by the rest. [Think: The exact same Finnish national team tidbit might make the frontpage of Swedish-languaged media, without getting a column of ink in Finnish.] FWIW one of the best female players in the world is Finnish, but represents Norway in international competition - an obvious choice as it is pretty much between a guaranteed medal and not qualifying for tournaments at all.

As for football/soccer, no Scandinavian countries can really be considered powerhouses, or IMO 'very good'. This does not mean that they are bad, merely that the international competition (as measured by number of countries) is far greater than in hockey. I am btw surprised to learn that Norway ranks better than Sweden btw, as I would not consider better by any means. Rather the contrary, actually, as Sweden has been the better Scandinavian country for the past decade (hopefully that has changed! ). Anyway, I think all three Scandinavian countries, like the US and for that matter Japan (?), are maybe third-tier countries - good enough to show up in international competition, and to put up a fight when there, but neither favorites nor serious contenders for medalling.

I am honestly a bit puzzled by the 22 hockey rinks in Denmark. Trying to add them up in my head, but so far no success. Thanks for the link though!
Cheers man. As for that last part... wow. I have a hard enough time keeping track of all the ones just in my hometown (Halifax) that I used to play in, let alone the ones that have been built since my minor hockey days. It boggles my mind that you're sitting there doing mental inventory of an entire country's rinks (albeit far from a "hockey hotbed", haha).

edit: and oh yeah, Japan is very close to becoming a "2nd tier" team in soccer. It's generally expected that they'll take the Asian wing of World Cup qualifying nowadays (or is that all my Japanese friends' cumulative brainwashing finally working on me?!) Just about every high school (and university?) has a team, the league is pretty successful/popular and decent calibre, and the available facilities are pretty good too (my team played at Saitama stadium in an all-Japan tournament, which was awesome - came 4th, not bad - and played regularly at the former English team training grounds on Awaji Island). Crappy thing is that most school and public fields are hard-packed sand, if you can believe that. Japanese people are either all allergic to grass or hate taking care of it, I swear.


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02-17-2010, 05:04 AM
  #40
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Originally Posted by Dans View Post
There's a Norwegian poster who seems to have answered the question earlier in this thread, but no one has responded to what he said.
I think one point he mentioned is interesting - hockey is associated with thugs and bullies. I am in Germany and have heard it said that hockey is considered a sport for the the "lower" classes (one above handball!), so I have heard, I can't actually qualify that statement. But if in Norway there is a similar perception, then I wouldn't be surprised if hockey never took off given that Norway is one of the richest nations in the world with the highest GDP.
Speaking for Germany I don´t think the problem is that hockey is a sport for bullies. It is just very expensive. You have to buy the equipment, the travel costs. Also a lack of rinks is a problem in Germany and therefore practice time, which is sometimes late in the evening for youth teams. It´s just easier to go to a football (soccer, I mean) team or a handball team. You need next to none new equipment except shoes, you can play it almost everywhere. Sticks, skates, protective gear, you don´t need that in soccer or handball. I think that with the travel costs is also a huge problem. I would go that far and say that hockey is only played by kids whose parents have enough money not by bullies.

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02-17-2010, 05:07 AM
  #41
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As a fan of Canadian Soccer (I know I am a sucker for punishment), Canada fails in international soccer for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into. With a few corrections I think Canada could be as good as Norway .

But the USA is clearly better than Norway, many of the top American players play a level higher than the players of Norway and their current form in all international competitions prove to me they are better than Norway. The USA would slot nicely against Denmark or Sweden I think
The funny thing in these comparisons is that a number of US and Canadian players actually ply their trade in Scandinavian football.

I have very little understanding of the NA soccer infrastructure, but based on the Canadian players in Denmark (almost all of them with national team experience), I'd put Norway comfortably ahead at this point. Not terribly impresed by the US top players, who, goalkeepers aside, do not really play at a higher level than the Norwegians either. That said, I actually follow and root for the US team, mostly due to Benny Feilhaber who plays for 'my' club. So hopefully they do well this summer!

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02-17-2010, 05:12 AM
  #42
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Originally Posted by Mikkel View Post
That said, I actually follow and root for the US team, mostly due to Benny Feilhaber who plays for 'my' club. So hopefully they do well this summer!
And if they do well, maybe there will be a little more interest for football (soccer ) in the USA.

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02-17-2010, 05:56 AM
  #43
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Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
are in a similar climate to their northern neighbours Finland and Sweden
They're eastern neighbours, not norhern, and the climate is not really all that similar. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geograp...Norway#Climate

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02-17-2010, 06:10 AM
  #44
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Speaking for Germany I don´t think the problem is that hockey is a sport for bullies. It is just very expensive. You have to buy the equipment, the travel costs. Also a lack of rinks is a problem in Germany and therefore practice time, which is sometimes late in the evening for youth teams. It´s just easier to go to a football (soccer, I mean) team or a handball team. You need next to none new equipment except shoes, you can play it almost everywhere. Sticks, skates, protective gear, you don´t need that in soccer or handball. I think that with the travel costs is also a huge problem. I would go that far and say that hockey is only played by kids whose parents have enough money not by bullies.
That should be the same the world over though, surely? Or is hockey equipment cheap as chips in places like Canada??


BTW - good luck in the playoff finals against the mighty EHC

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02-17-2010, 06:26 AM
  #45
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Im not sure how they count outdoor rinks on that page (finland), but the count is too low, there were 7 rinks in my town where i grew up and it was only a town with population of 25,000 ... Inside rinks may be real number. So i bet there is more outdoor rinks than that in Norway too.

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02-17-2010, 06:31 AM
  #46
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The claim that Norway would be better than USA and Sweden at soccer is just wrong. USA is always frowned upon in football just because Europeans want them to be bad - it's the world's sport (and thus not America's ^^). So regardless of results they are always considered ****.
And Sweden is definitely the best country in Scandinavia for the last 10 years. Probably of all time as well, with Denmark being the only competitor. Norway are comparibly weak and them being higher ranked than Sweden is a joke. OTOH, they are the all time leaders in winter olympics. Quite impressive for a country with 4 million people.

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02-17-2010, 06:32 AM
  #47
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Originally Posted by Dans View Post
That should be the same the world over though, surely? Or is hockey equipment cheap as chips in places like Canada??


BTW - good luck in the playoff finals against the mighty EHC
That has nothing to do with luck

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02-17-2010, 06:37 AM
  #48
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It seems to me the biggest problem for Norway in hockey is their smaller population combined with the popularity of other sports. A lot of top athletes choose skiing/football/whatever other than hockey, so a very limited population is restricted even more by not being the top dog in the country.

However Norway has produced and is producing some good players. Espen Knudsen was a very good NHLer for a few seasons. It's a slow process, but their captain carrying the flag was a good bit of exposure for them. Unfortunately turning a hockey country from Top 15 to top 7-10 takes a long time for some places, if ever.

It really depends on whether or not Norway wants to be a good hockey country, because they need more rinks, and need a better national league. Switzerland has really started to develop as a hockey playing nation thanks to the NLA becoming a heck of a lot stronger, and it may be only a matter of time before their first NHL regular forward happens in Nino Neidereiter.

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02-17-2010, 06:38 AM
  #49
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Originally Posted by SchwenningerWildWing View Post
That has nothing to do with luck
Perhaps I'll see you one time at the Olympia (that's a joke) EisStadion in München.

When the playoffs start, I will start going more regularly.

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02-17-2010, 06:56 AM
  #50
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Or maybe its because bloddoping don't make you a great nation in hockey, like it does in Cross Country Skiing...

http://langd.custompublish.com/kyrou...t.4503375.html

(Former National Team coach accuses Norway for systematic doping in skiing)


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