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Modo Hockey is a professional ice hockey club in Örnsköldsvikmarker, Swedenmarker. The club plays in Sweden's premier ice hockey league, the Elitserien. They were founded in 1921 and have won two Elitserien championships in 1979 and 2007. Their home arena has been the Swedbank Arenamarker since 2006, while previously having played at Kempehallenmarker, beginning in 1964.

History

Alfredshems IK and Modo AIK (1921–87)

The club was founded in 1921 as Alfredshems IK, however it existed without an ice hockey program until 1938. Twenty years later, in 1958, the club joined HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden's highest division at the time. Alfredshems IK played under that moniker until 1963, when it was renamed Modo AIK after their main sponsor, industrial corporation Mo och Domsjö AB (commonly abbreviated Modo). The following year, the club made the newly-constructed Kempehallenmarker their home arena. In 1975, Modo AIK joined the Elitserien as one of the premier league's original ten teams. Four seasons later, Modo AIK won their first regular-season championship in 1979, en route to defeating previous ten-time champion Djurgårdens IF to also capture their first Le Mat trophy as playoff champions.

Modo Hockey (1987–present)

In 1987, Modo AIK dropped the "AIK" suffix to the club's name, becoming known simply as Modo Hockey. After coming off its championship year in 1979, the club spent the majority of the 1980's with losing records. Coming out of the club's junior program, however, hometown stars Peter Forsberg and Markus Näslund played their rookie seasons with the senior team in 1990–91. Näslund went on to lead Modo Hockey in scoring as an eighteen-year-old in his second season with the club, while Forsberg became the first Modo player to win the Guldpucken as Swedish player of the year since Nils Johansson in 1964, capturing the title back-to-back in 1993 and 1994.

Former logo
With both Forsberg and Näslund having been chosen as first-round selections in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, however, their time in Sweden was limited. Näslund departed for the NHL in 1993, while Forsberg remained to lead Modo to their second Elitserien playoff final in 1994, where they lost to Malmö IF. Soon after Forsberg's inevitable departure to the NHL in 1995, identical twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin represented the next wave of young talent coming through the Modo system. At seventeen-years-old, they captured the Guldpucken together as co-recipients in 1999, while leading Modo to a 33-win season (in a 50-game schedule) for the club's second regular-season title. As second- and third-overall selections in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, respectively, Daniel and Henrik left Modo for the NHL in 2000. Regardless, Modo became consistent contenders for the Le Mat trophy, appearing in three out of four playoff finals – losing all three – between 1999 and 2002.

Due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout, many former Modo stars returned to the team from the NHL, including Forsberg, Naslund, the Sedins and František Kaberle. Several foreign NHL players also signed with Modo, including Canadianmarker defenceman Adrian Aucoin and Americanmarker forward Dan Hinote. Swedish goaltender Tommy Salo (a product of Västerås IK) joined as the starting goaltender. Despite a bolstered lineup, Modo finished sixth in the regular season.

Having played in home arena Kempehallenmarker since 1964, Modo moved into the newly-constructed Swedbank Arenamarker (which was partially funded by former star Forsberg and his father Kent, who was also a former club head coach) Modo returned to Elitserien supremacy that season, defeating Linköpings HC on April 14, 2007, to capture their second Le Mat trophy in franchise history. The championship-winning club featured the 2007 Guldpucken-recipient Per Svartvadet, team leading-scorer Per-Age Skroder and future NHL defenceman Tobias Enstrom. The return of Niklas Sundstrom, who had originally played with the club alongside Forsberg and Naslund in the early 1990's, bolstered Modo's roster as he finished second in team scoring in his first season back from the NHL. An approximate 8,000 fans were in attendance at the Swedbank Arena for Modo's first championship in 28 years.

In 2009–10, Forsberg returned to play for Modo on a conditioning-basis to prepare for an anticipated return to the NHL after having been inactive for a season due to injury. With Näslund back in Sweden, having retired after the 2008–09 NHL season, he correctly predicted that Forsberg would not return to the NHL and finish the season with Modo instead. Several days later, on November 17, 2009, Näslund announced he was coming out of retirement to also rejoin Modo with Forsberg. The announcement crashed the Modo web server as a result of the the heavy volume of people visiting the site. As a board member of the club, Näslund also announced he would play without a salary, along with Forsberg.

NHL alumni

Although Örnsköldsvik is a small town with an approximate population of just 30,000, the city has produced numerous born-and-raised NHL talents through the Modo system. The hockey-centred town has six indoor rinks, with the Swedbank Arena boasting regular attendances of 7,000 for Modo home games, marking nearly a quarter of the population.

Anders Hedberg was one of the first Swedes to succeed in the NHL, back in the 1970's. In the early 1990's, forwards Peter Forsberg and Markus Näslund emerged out of Modo's junior system and were drafted 6th and 16th overall by the Quebec Nordiques and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. They became arguably Modo's first NHL stars. Forsberg went on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year in 1995 with the Nordiques and the Hart Memorial Trophy as NHL MVP with the Colorado Avalanche in 2003, while Näslund won the Lester B. Pearson Award as NHL MVP chosen by the players in 2003. Furthermore, Forsberg and Näslund finished first and second in league point-scoring for the Art Ross Trophy in 2003. Besides the two league-leaders, the 2002–03 season featured 13 NHL players originating from Modo, as well as seven others who were born and raised within a couple miles of Örnsköldsvik. Forward Niklas Sundström also played alongside Forsberg and Naslund with Modo and was drafted 8th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers.

Eight years after Forsberg and Naslund's draft selections, identical twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin were drafted second and third overall, joining Naslund in Vancouver. In 2005–06, Naslund, Henrik and Daniel finished first, second and third, respectively, in Canucks team-scoring. In fact, since the 1998–99 season, no Canucks player has led the team in scoring besides either Naslund, Henrik or Daniel.

In 2008–09 defenceman Victor Hedman began drawing considerable attention from the NHL and was eventually selected second overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, matching Daniel Sedin as the highest-drafted Modo player in team history.

Trophies and awards

Team

Elitserien regular-season titles
  • 1979
  • 1999


Le Mat Trophy


Individual

Guldpucken


Guldhjälmen


HĂĄkan Loob Trophy


Elitserien Rookie of the Year


Current roster

References

External links




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