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“My name is Tina and I’m from Sweden.

I started playing ice hockey in 1980 when I was 14 years old. My soccer teammate wanted to play ice hockey, so she managed to gather enough friends to convince the club in our community to start a girls team. None of us had ever played before and hardly anyone could skate especially well, but we learned—we become a team and that team still exists! There are other players on it now, of course, but some of us are actually still on the ice.

I became the team’s goaltender and I played for 12 years. At 26 I thought it was time to try to make myself a family, something that wasn’t really possible when I was spending most of my time at the arena. I left the team, met a man and had two wonderful kids—a girl and a boy.

In 2002 my six-year-old daughter told me she wanted to play hockey, and it didn’t take long before her 4-year-old brother joined her on that idea! So the three of us started at ice hockey school! I assisted on the ice the first year and then shared the head coach responsibilty for the school the next four years. I then became shared head coach for my son’s team for four years and later became team manager for the same team for three years. I also helped out on the girls team (mostly with the goalie). I was on the board of the ice hockey club for almost two years.

Then I left the arena thinking I had done my part and decided I was only going to be an ice hockey parent. That lasted for about six months before I joined a project group consisting of people representing the three different ice hockey clubs in the community. The project was arranged with assistance from the community with the aim of investigating the pros and cons of possibly merging the three existing clubs into one. The project lasted for a year and a half before we managed to convince enough people in all three clubs of the benefit of only having one joint club. We got the authority to arrange this and once the new club was established in 2013 I was on the board responsible for building up the girls and ladies teams.

One challenge was to get enough players to fill up the two girls teams, but by reaching out to other clubs that didn’t have any girls teams, and had girls playing on boys teams, we got it to work. The ladies team came from my old club and become a representation team in the new club, along with the mens A team. Another challenge was to ensure the girls/ladies ice hockey got the same priority as the boys/mens teams. I believe we managed to get there in the beginning thanks to the fact that we started a new club and as the board was in agreement on this priority we set the rules to make sure of this. Of course, it wasn’t always easy as there will alway be people around who don’t think girls should play ice hockey, and if they do they should only to get the leftovers from the boys.

I left the board after two years and thought that I wasn’t going to do anything hockey-related, but then a friend of mine came up with the fantastic idea to start a ladies recreation ice hockey team! So, back on the ice again, and it is great! We have 22 players between the ages of 16 and 53. It’s a mix of new beginners and old players (“old” meaning those who had played before and now are doing it again just for fun!) I’m playing on the same team as my daughter who’s now 22 years old, and my husband is our coach.

I’ve been engaged with ice hockey for so many years and for so many reasons, but at the end of the day it’s one thing that counts, that matters, that brings you forward, that makes you put all the effort in and spend all the time it takes because it gives back so much in return—JUST LOVE THE GAME!” – Tina Carlson | Haninge, Sweden | Haninge Anchors

 


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