Opponent of the Czechs at the World Cup in difficulty: We are for laughs. How can it get to this level?

The Norwegian national team, which is due to challenge Česko and co in the Prague group at the 2024 World Hockey Championship, is troubled by serious financial problems. The union canceled the demonstrations planned for this year for almost all the selections.

Norwegian ice hockey players have played in the world championship elite group continuously since 2006. During this time, they have qualified for the quarter-finals three times. In the international ranking, they rank twelfth behind Slovakia, Latvia and Denmark.

It can be said that it belongs to the wider world summit.

That’s why the news that the Norwegian team won’t play a game or attend a training session at least until the end of the year was so surprising.

The local union admitted a loss of nine million Norwegian crowns (nearly 19 million Czech crowns in conversion) for the past year, three million more than expected. That is why he resorted to drastic measures. He said goodbye to several workers and suspended the activities of almost all representatives for the rest of the year.

The exception is the U20 team, which will play the WC in Sweden in December, and the women’s A team. This was not lost due to a special sponsorship agreement.

However, the senior men’s national team, which is attracting the most attention, is standing. “It’s sad. Sad and dangerous for the future of Norwegian hockey. The national team is our flagship,” said veteran defender Alexander Bonsaksen, who won ten world championships with Norway, shaking his head.

“It’s a bit embarrassing for you when the national team of such a big sport can’t function normally in Norway,” added striker Mats Rosseli Olsen, who played for Frölunda in the Swedish league for many years. years, on NRK television.

He learned the bad news from his teammates at the club. “Now we are their laughingstock,” he said.

The coach of the Norwegian national team, Sweden’s Tobias Johansson, is also disillusioned. “I didn’t think it was that bad,” he told TV 2, saying the lack of an international showdown would have a negative impact on his team. They are even more worried about the development of young players.

“In addition, it will harm relations with other countries. Petter Salsten (general manager of the Norwegian national team, editor’s note) In recent years he has worked hard to ensure that we face better opponents in preparation,” commented Johansson.

Towards the end of last year the Norwegians tested their skills against the Latvians, Danes and Slovaks, this year they are unlucky.

“I am now curious whether next year we will meet countries like Slovakia and Latvia again, or whether it will be Italy or Hungary,” added coach Johansson.

It seems that Norwegian hockey already has a tarnished reputation. “I’m completely shocked that something like this can happen at this level,” former Finland defender Juha Kaunismäki, who represented Norway through his second nationality and is currently working there in the squad, told Iltalehti. coaches from Stavanger.

He lamented that Norwegian hockey was unable to benefit from participation (and the resulting money in the state coffers) at three consecutive Olympic Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018. According to Kaunismäki, he n moved nowhere.

Norwegian hockey players did not make it to the last Olympics in Beijing, China. And now another blow caught them.

Some hockey players are concerned that the representative clock will not simply end. In the extreme case, Norway would not play in the next World Cup, where they are due to meet the Czech Republic as part of the Prague squad.

“However, according to the information I have received, it is planned to resume activities for 2024. I have already called our best players,” assured national team coach Johansson that a worst-case scenario is not on the table.

John Robinson

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