The SHL is into its fortieth year and we take a look at this amazing league and show how you can put your money where your puck is
There are few sports as fast paced and action packed as Ice Hockey, the sheer speed and skill of the players quite shocking the first time you see it up close. Powerfully built athletes balanced on thin slivers of steel moving at incredible velocities after a puck moving even faster than they are. Padded out and wielding a stick the players are, as is the sport, a finely balanced mixture of power, control and skill that at times seems almost impossibly counter-intuitive.
There are numerous leagues around the world, with Canada and Russia perhaps being the most famous of them, and ice hockey itself dates so far back as for its origins to disappear in the mists of ancient times, with various ball-stick-ice variations cropping up as far back as the pre-Christian era. One of these pre-cursors was the Norse game of Knattleikr, and indeed it was Swedish sports historians who discovered one of the earliest graphic references of a sport with skates, sticks and a proto-puck.
Wagering On Swedish Ice Hockey
• 12 teams in the Elite top league
• Regular season and playoffs
• Closest matched league in the world
Sweden, of course, is one of the many nations that has an ice hockey league system of its own with a top division of 12 teams (although this is set for some expansion next season) which is followed avidly by millions of fans as the teams battle it out to be champions in what is widely regarded as being the world’s most evenly matched professional ice hockey league, and it is that last fact that makes for good gambling news headlines.
The closer the opponents in terms of skill and potential results the better the odds you’re likely to get on a winner. A sure thing is all very well but the certainty behind it is likely to be reflected in the low odds offered, and indeed one’s eventual winnings, however when opposing teams or competitors are more closely matched the odds offered far better reflect the unpredictability upping your rate of reward. This is why we love the Swedish Hockey League.
Most Evenly Matched League In The World
The SHL (Swedish Hockey League) has only been so called for a couple of years now having spent much of it’s time since 1975 under the somewhat self-aggrandizing title of The Swedish Elite League (or perhaps more correctly in Swedish proper as Elitserien) and originally only featured the top ten teams in the country, expanding to 12 teams in the late eighties and due to include two more in the 2015-16 season.
The regular season lasts from September through till March, featuring each team playing around 55 games in round-robin fashion, whereupon there is a playoff period in which teams are paired and play a best-of-seven series with each other, the winner moving into the next round culminating in the crowing of the eventual winners or Svenska Mastare who receive the prestigious Le Mat Trophy. Current holders of the title are Skellefteå AIK who’ve held it twice before.
As with all sports of the top flight each city is intensely proud of its team and players with the major cities all having their own teams, madly enthusiastic fans and arena, the largest of which is the aptly named Scandinavium in Gothenburg that has a capacity in excess of 12,000, although the largest crowd attendances have been recorded at the few “outdoor” games played between teams irregularly over the years, some boasting crowds of over 30,000.
This enthusiasm for the sport (which really does rival Russian and Canadian levels of fervor) is very deep rooted in Sweden with star players treated like heroes and victory being cause for very Nordic celebrations. The best player of the season is awarded, perhaps rather quaintly, with the Guldpucken (or Golden Puck) an honor last bestowed on Joakim Lindstrom (who plays Centre for Skellefteå AIK). Of course any sport with this much public support attacts gambling, and the SHL is no different.
Sweden Taken To Court Over Online Gambling
Swedish gambling laws are currently under a revision that stems from the EU taking Sweden to court over the somewhat restrictive legal framework that pretty much limits online gambling in the country to a monopoly run by the former duopoly of Tipstjanst and Svenska Penninglotteriet under a new name that continues to have a major influence over gambling in Sweden even today despite the EU’s ongoing efforts.
“Sweden,” said the EU in a statement, “is referred to the Court of Justice for imposing restrictions on the organization and promotion of online betting services in a way which is inconsistent with EU law.” Adding that “changes to the Swedish gambling law in order to make it compliant with EU law have long been envisaged but never implemented.” Which is true, they were first asked in 2007 and reminded that they were asked as recently as late 2013.
If legislation is slow to keep up with the pace of change the internet isn’t and it will surprise no one that those who like to partake of a little internet betting in Sweden can very easily do so upon sites like Comeon! that offers a full range of games and opportunities, from poker to sports betting, and indeed has some very generous country specific offers that make it the first choice for hockey fans who want to back their team.
Even better for the bettors Comeon! doesn’t just allow you to back your favorite Swedish Ice Hockey team in their next match, but has a massive range of side bet markets that cover everything from who’ll be the first to score to which half will possess the most goals. Moneyline and Handicaps are also represented in this fabulous way to enjoy the excitement of having a few crowns on your team to win their match.