Denmark has never been known to be a really strong ice hockey nation. The country in itself has another national sport, football but icehockey is gaining more and more interest from spectators, media and sponsors – known as SMS.
There exists one professional league called Eliteserien that has 10 teams. Then there is a semi-pro league called 1st Division, which uses a few foreign players and also some amateur players. Junior players are eligible to play Elite hockey at the age of 15 but usually no team presents players that are under 18 years of age.
The situation in Denmark is very exciting at the moment, as the clubs and the Danish Icehockey Union have begun to realize that the young players are the way to success. For the last 12 years there has been an increasing amount of foreign players in Denmark, and this year is the first where the clubs have downsized the number to give new talent a chance to make the elite team/level.
The result of over ten years with foreigners of better and better level (quality) has helped the younger prospects that have been trained by the import players. This means that now these players are old enough to make the Elite teams and therefore they get more icetime and becomes better hereby. So there is a lot of talent and in the coming years I believe that Danish hockey is definitely a league that should receive massive attention.
The problem is that once a promising and upcoming player makes the Elite team, they might end up being benched for nearly the whole season because of coaches and management looks for the best image towards SMS. So what could be a useful solution, some say that introducing a system like the German is the way, and some mean that it is up to the clubs to decide what they want to do with their prospects. So right now there is a lot of talent in Denmark, and these players could be interesting to follow, as these players know.
One thing’s for sure, if something isn’t done to solve this problem the talent of these young players might be hidden forever. Some make it in the Swedish Elite teams and some try the North American clubs in order to be spotted. But the focus needs to be set on the talent early and start developing, so the hidden treasure of talent won’t be hidden forever.