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

Just Posted

Young Langley family plagued by angry cab customers

A couple rents a house formerly used by a cab firm, and unwelcome visitors knocking.

Woman groped on Langley’s 208th Street

Police are asking for tips to identify the man responsible.

PHOTOS: Family Day a success at Aldergrove Telephone Museum

A record number of people visited the Telephone Museum on Monday to tour the historic exhibits.

VIDEO: Langley wrestler takes gold at high school games

Victory felt like a comeback for D.W. Poppy student Parm Sidhu

Why some Langley sidewalks don’t get shovelled

All walkways are not equal under rules that give priority to higher-traffic areas

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Former NHL star Fleury in Surrey for conference on child abuse

At Surrey City Hall, two-day event hosted by Sophie’s Place Child and Youth Advocacy Centre

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

Most Read