Unfortunately the Swiss hockey league makes a break during Christmas/New Year time... So a friend and I decided to make a hockey roadtrip through Sweden during this time. We have planned to be in Sweden from 27.12. until 03.01.
Based on the definite things you want to do and the available games during that time that seems like the best route.
Car or train is a matter of choice. Connections between Karlstad and Stockholm are good. The same can be said about the connections between Linköping and Stockholm. Traveling between Karlstad and Linköping will mean using somewhat smaller roads or changing trains, but it shouldn't be that problematic.
Renting a car obviously gives you freedom. You can travel when you want to and you have a means to get around in the cities if you don't want to walk or use the local public transportation (in Stockholm I would recommend using the subway though). You will also save some time when traveling between Karlstad and Linköping assuming you don't get lost (a GPS should prevent this) and drive at the speed limitations.
Going by train obviously means you don't have to worry about finding your way (apart from geting on the right train). You, of course, won't have the same freedom about when to travel and you will have to get around by other means in the cities. I'ts also worth mentioning that there are often delays when travling by train during the winter.
Where to stay between the games is probably a matter of what you like to do between the games (when not traveling between the cities). What kind of activites would you be interested in?
As for the tickets.... I'm not expecting any of the games to be sold out, so you should probably be able to get tickets at the arenas (Linköping haven't even released the tickets for that game yet). You can also buy your tickets online, but everything is in Swedish. You will find it here http://shl.se/biljett. Click on the team in question and you will be taken to their ticket service (the link for AIK doesn't seem to work though).
28.12. Färjestad - MODO
30.12. Switzerland - Norway
31.12. Canada - USA
3.1. Malmö - Stockholm by car....it's a long ride, but we are two guys.
30.12. Switzerland - Norway
Another option is to skip Karlstad, stay in Stockholm and watch Djurgården-Almtuna in the 2nd league on the 28th of December. The arena in Karlstad is awesome but you will get a more genuine hockey feeling in Stockholm.
@pulverapa: I didn't skip Karlstad, because I like Färjestads BK since they played at the Spengler Cup in the 90's.
@Jonnieboy15: I am sorry, I didn't take pictures... but a little review:
We arrived on 27.12. in Stockholm and drove to Karlstad on 28.12. to see the game Färjestads BK vs MODO. Färjestads won the game 2-1. It was a good game, but Färjestads should have won by a bigger margin. They had lots of chances. I was surprised about the impact of Berglund. He's still a good player. The level of the game is approximately like in Switzerland. I like Shawn Belle. The only player of MODO, who stood out was Mattias Ritola. Unfortunately we got a parking fine... We didn't have enough coins and the automat did not accept our cards. (it wasn't our last parking fine )
I was surprised about the atmosphere at the game. I didn't expect many fan songs, but they were chanting all the time. Swedish hockey fans are more enthusiastic than I thought! I really like the arena too!
After the game we drove to Göteborg. We stayed at Radisson Blu for two nights, great hotel! The city is very nice and the O'Learys is a great place.
In the morning of the 30.12. we drove down to Malmö. I liked the landscape on our way down to Malmö, even though the weather wasn't great.
After checking in at the STF we went to the Malmö Arena to watch Russia-Finland. The game was meh and there weren't many fans in the stadium (compared to the following day). After the game we took a taxi to get to the Isstadion to watch Canada-Slovakia. WOW, the Canadians were crazy! Sooooo many Canadians and the atmosphere was great! We left after 30 minutes to go back to the Malmö Arena to support our Swiss team... The game was pretty bad..... as always when our teams play against weaker opponents. At least our team won.
The next day was just great! Great hockey and great atmosphere in both rinks. Firstly we watched Sweden-Russia... WOOOOOW! The Swedish fans were awesome and the team played very good in the first period. Forsberg and Lindholm were unbelievable. Two great young players! I am also a fan of Olofsson now.
After the game we went to the Isstadion to watch Canada-USA.. unfortunately we missed Switzerland-Finland... but we decided to watch the game between these two rivals... On one side it was a good decision, as the game was really good, on the other side the decision wasn't that good, since the Swiss has beaten Finland. Anyway, I don't regret it.
New Years Eve wasn't that great... Many bars were stacked... We didn't get into the clubs, because we didn't wear elegant shoes... And the fireworks were pretty dangerous.
But the 1.1. was great, we watched the Winter Classic at Sir Toby's... a good place!
Then on 2.1. we watched USA-Russia... The US boys started well into the game, but then lost unfortunately. After the game we drove to Stockholm. It was a pretty long ride, but well, we knew that.
Unfortunately I didn't see a lot of Stockholm, so I have to visit Stockholm once again.
(I am sorry, my English is not that good, but I think most of the text is understandable )
Very fun to read about your adventures! I too enjoyed the WJC tournament even tho New Years eve was a disaster (no open bars/crowded bars/fireworks almost killing us), we ended up having beers and champagne at the hotel bar, but it was okey.
I really think you should give Stockholm a try, maybe watch a Djurgården-game if you happen to be there in winter!