Column: Swedish hockey captain missed the silver lining

Sportsmanship is also a skill that needs practice after Lias Andersson threw his silver medal into the crowd

The world got to see some great hockey on Friday when Canada battled the Swedes for gold at the Junior World Championship.

It also got to see an example of poor sportsmanship when Lias Andersson, Sweden’s captain, threw his silver medal into the crowd.

Anyone who has ever competed for anything knows that “it’s not about winning, it’s about how you play the game” is a crock. And in a high-stakes game with the world watching, losing is going to be a traumatic event.

In that context, the tears shed by some of the Swedish players are understandable, and we can also understand Andersson being overcome by emotion and frustration after his team failed to achieve their goals.

Despite their skill level, these are, after all, just teenagers. Teenagers who were under pressure to win practically since they strapped on their first pair of skates. But Andersson’s later comments that “This was kind of our last chance, so this sucks,” shows his medal toss was as much the result of attitude as frustration.

For those who are mentally agreeing with Andersson and thinking “second place is just the first loser,” it’s not. Getting to second place at this level of hockey is still an incredible achievement, and one to be proud of.

Competing is about winning, but in the end, it’s about winning well. That means not only playing well and by the rules as you overcome your competition, but also being a good sportsman. Andersson’s actions and attitude robbed his team of some of their joy in getting the team to the gold medal round.

Throwing your medal into the crowd may not be on the same level of some historic sports tantrums — tennis star John McEnroe springs to mind — but it is still unsportsmanlike behaviour, something that a player of this level should be beyond, no matter his age.

Steve Kidd is senior reporter with the Penticton Western News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nimpkish to continue serving Central Coast until spring

The Northern Sea Wolf is still undergoing repairs

B.C. Indigenous communities receive funding for hands-on trades training

Nuxalk, Witset, Penticton Indian Band, TRU Williams Lake, and Camosun College among beneficiaries

Nuxalk College undertakes language digitization project

New tapes from over 50 years ago are set to be digitally transcribed

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

VIDEO: Canada looking to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Watch out for scams, clickbait in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death: Better Business Bureau

Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles

Most Read