It all started for Madeleine Ericsson when she was seven years old, when her mom signed her up to play with British Columbia (BC)’s Tri Cities Female Ice Hockey Association. Now, 11 years later, Ericsson is preparing to make her way to Sweden to play with the SDHL’s HV71.
Ericsson has spent the last three seasons in the BC Female Midget AAA (BC FMAAA) league, where she played two seasons with the Fraser Valley Rush (formerly Fraser Valley Phantom), and one season with the Greater Vancouver Comets. Through 85 FMAAA games Ericsson, a forward, had 14 goals and 15 assists.
“In second year Bantam I was scouted by the Fraser Valley Phantom and was asked to join some practices,” Ericsson said about how she ended up playing FMAAA. “Later, I was lucky enough to be asked to join the team at Nationals [the Esso Cup] in Stoney Creek, Ontario as an affiliate player. It was from that experience that I first learned about the [FMAAA] league and decided to try out for the Fraser Valley Phantom the following year.”
Playing in the BC FMAAA league was a very positive experience for Ericsson, who has enjoyed the opportunity to play at a level where games are fast and aggressive. As with many BC FMAAA players, Ericsson hoped to continue to play hockey at a high level after graduation.
“From the beginning when playing [FMAAA], many girls’ [main goal is] to play university hockey in North America, including myself, as I thought this to be the only direction one continues with hockey. [But] with my Swedish heritage, I began looking for other options.”
That’s when Ericsson came across the SDHL and HV71, a team which went to the SDHL league finals last season, losing just 2-0 to Djurgårdens IF. Last season HV71 also had a number of international players from countries such as Germany, Finland, Norway, and Austria. There were even several Canadians on the team, such as Hanna Moher (Bemidji State University), Alexis Woloschuk (Boston University), and Lindsay Grigg (Buffalo Beauts). The team also has Swedish players who have recently represented their country in IIHF events, such as Fanny Rask.
“I considered my schooling interests and found that the program I was interested in was in the same city as HV71 [Jönköping],” explained Ericsson, who will also be studying New Media Design at Jönköping University. “I reached out and contacted Ulf Johansson (Head Coach of HV71). I sent highlight videos … [and] full game videos as well. After that I was very fortunate to be offered a spot on the HV71 team.”
Ericsson speaks Swedish, and has been to Sweden several times before, so she is familiar with the country, culture and language. She is excited to play on Olympic sized ice as well as play at a faster level. However, there are some challenges that she knows she will face.
“Some challenges I think are going to be starting with a new team, adjusting to the new playing style of Swedish hockey and learning new systems. As far as living in Sweden, what my biggest challenge will be is being so far away from my family. We are very close knit—going from seeing them basically everyday to Skype time will be a huge adjustment for me.”
Despite those challenges, Ericsson says that she has “always thought it would be thrilling to play hockey in Sweden,” and now she will get the opportunity to live out that dream and represent British Columbia in the SDHL.
Photos courtesy of Madeleine Ericsson.