Nearly two months to the day after 43 of the top Swedish women’s players announced they were banding together to boycott the national team’s training camp and August’s Five Nations Tournament, the national team members and Swedish Ice Hockey Association have reached an agreement.
The end of the stalemate between the two sides was announced Tuesday by the SIHA, which stated the issues between the two sides have been “resolved,” including compensation for lost income and player insurance. In addition, the SIHA noted that players will be awarded a medal bonus depending on their performance at future World Championship and Olympic events. Qualification for the 2021 World Championship will also earn the players a bonus, a wrinkle to the new deal that comes after Sweden was stunned at the 2019 World Championship and relegated to Division 1 for the upcoming 2020 competition.
By providing those bonuses and benefits, the SIHA has effectively checked off all of the boxes that were provided by the national team players at the time the boycott was announced. That is particularly true as it pertains to the compensation for loss of income, which was a clear sticking point when the #ForFramtiden – which translates to #ForTheFuture – movement began.
With the new agreement in place, which came into effect Oct. 14 and replaces the old deal, which expired in April 2019, the national team is now set to begin training camp in November.
“It feels really good that we can finally get started on our national team season,” Ylva Martinsen said, according to a translation of the SIHA’s release. “We can now, with good conditions, place full focus on the sports league and do everything we can to play a good ice hockey and of course to regain our place in the (World Championship’s) highest division next year.”
“For us players we have always said that there is nothing greater than playing in our national team,” said Fanny Rask, according to the SIHA release. “It feels like we have taken important steps in the discussions and that we have now been given better conditions for playing in the Women's Crowns. Now we want nothing more than to look ahead with (coach) Ylva Martinsen and the other leaders in the women's crown and finally start the journey towards revenge after last year. We are going to play in the (World Championship) next year.”
The journey back to the top division of the World Championships will begin in December when the Swedish team is slated to take the ice for the 4 Nations Tournament. The three-day event in Fussen, Germany will see Sweden square off against Finland, Switzerland and Germany and act as a tune-up for the group after missing the previous Five Nations Tournmanet. From there, Sweden is scheduled for a competition in February, as well as a pair of pre-World Championship camps in March and April.
In order to qualify for the World Championship, Sweden will need to best Austria, Norway, Slovakia, recently promoted Netherlands and France, who were relegated alongside the Damkronorna following the 2019 worlds. The five-game round-robin tournament will take place from April 12-18 in Angers, France, with the two top teams earning promotion back to the top flight.
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