This is in todays Morning Star Newspaper:
Swedish elite to visit Viper den for exhibition
Published: December 09, 2008 7:00 PM
Zetterberg, Sedin, Lundqvist, Backstrom – most hockey fans recognize these as elite names in today’s NHL.
But before they started earning fat, seven-figure contracts, these Swedish superstars played with the U17 national team that played exhibition games against the B.C. Hockey League.
The next crop of Swedish hockey nobility will be on display when they tangle with the Vernon Vipers at Wesbild Centre, Sunday, Jan. 4. It will be the first of a three-game Okanagan tour.
“Whenever you get to see a country’s national team, especially Sweden’s, you know you’re going to see some talent,” said Vipers’ assistant GM Todd Miller, adding that at least five Swedes will likely be sure-fire NHLers. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Vipers’ owner Duncan Wray got to see the U17 team play the Victoria Grizzlies last year, when they toured the BCHL Island Division teams.
“It’s a game you shouldn’t miss,” said Wray. “They have tremendous work ethic, they pass the puck well, and they skate superbly.
“Don’t miss the warm up. Everything is done at lightning speed.”
And don’t think because they’re 17-year-olds that they won’t match up to the BCHL’s 20-year-old talent. The Tre Kronor won three of last year’s exhibition games, and tied one.
“They didn’t shy away from the physical aspect at all,” said Wray. “And the size differential between the two teams wasn’t that significant.”
Most of last year’s games were sellouts, and tickets for the Vernon game will be $10 for adults, and $8 for anyone under the age of 12.
“Given the short time frame we have, we want to make it a saleable product, and to try to generate some interest around the game,” said Miller, adding that tickets are already moving well. “It’s (cheaper prices) also a bit of a reward for our season-ticket holders and gate sellers.”
Contact the Vipers office at 542-6022. Please note the office will be closed from Dec. 20-29 for the Christmas holidays.