Oskar Thorsberg, Marcus Andersson and Jim Karlsson brought their bright lights to Canada’s biggest city to cheer on Sweden as it took on Finland at the Air Canada Centre in quarter-final action at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The trio from Malmö, Sweden, had such a good experience taking in games in their hometown last year, they decided in July to make the journey to Toronto for this year’s tournament. It’s the Swedes’ first visit to Canada.
“Toronto feels like the hockey centre of the universe,” says Thorsberg of his impressions of the host city. “It’s pretty awesome to fill the arena even when Canada isn’t playing. It’s pretty magical.”
Donning hockey helmets affixed with flashing blue lights, Thorsberg and Andersson stood out from the crowd from their seats in behind the net. Thorsberg even busted out his playoff beard for the first time on Jan. 2 to help bring the team some luck in advancing to the semifinals. It must have worked: Sweden defeated Finland 6-3.
It’s the first time the three were able to see the Sweden-Finland rivalry up close, since they watched last year’s gold medal game on TV.
After being approached by lots of fans throughout the preliminary round, the group has noticed a change in the crowd now that Team Canada has arrived in Toronto for the medal round.
“There’s a lot more Canada fans now,” said Marcus. “You really notice all the people in Canada jerseys today.”
The group has seen every game in Toronto during their stay and counts one of their home team’s games as their most memorable moment so far.
“Definitely the Sweden versus Russia game,” says Thorsberg. “That was the best game we’ve been to.” Their team defeated the Russians 3-2.
Thorsberg, Andersson and Karlsson hoping the rematch brings more memorable moments: Sweden faces Russia in the semifinals on Sunday (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT).