SAIK Bandy first to the World Cup!
Sandvikens AIK, the elite club in Sweden, arranged the FIB World Cup for the past 11 years. The tournament was born in Swedish Ljusdal as a round-the-clock tournament back in 1974 and later the tournament was promoted to the World Cup. The first team to win the tournament in 1974 was Sandvikens AIK and when the tournament was played in 2019 Bollnäs GIF won the trophy after a final victory against SKA Neftyanik with 5-2.
December 17-20 this year, the World Cup will be played in Krasnoyarsk. Decisive for the tournament will of course be how the ongoing corona pandemic develops and what restrictions will apply in December.
Rafi Markarian is the club manager of SAIK Bandy and he explains why his club is the first to register for this year’s World Cup in Krasnoyarsk:
-After arranging the tournament for 11 years, we of course want to be involved even when the World Cup is decided in Russia. But we were unsure whether we would be able to manage the participation financially. Since then, of course, the Covid19 pandemic has also created uncertainty for participation. We have worked hard to have a healthy economy, we can not incur large costs. But now the financial conditions are so favorable from the organizers in Russia that we immediately decided to participate. Now the costs will not be greater than if we have a training camp in Sweden, says Rafi.
What will it be like to play the World Cup for the first time in Russia?
-It will be exciting to see and above all if the Russians can create the public success that we may not have fully succeeded in, says Rafi Markarian.
The World Cup will be played December 17-20. A time that Rafi thinks feels logical:
-Normally, the national team players usually go to a 4-nation tournament then. Now all our players get an experience to go to Krasnoyarsk and play the World Cup instead. It will probably be especially cool and useful for the younger players.
What can his SAIK hope for in the World Cup?
-Very difficult to say. We have lost a couple of great national team players and instead got some new good players. It will be exciting to see how we can challenge not least the Russian teams, Rafi Markarian concludes.
The majority of the participating teams will be Russian, just as it has been with the Swedish teams in previous tournaments. Six Swedish teams are invited. The ambition is to have the four best teams in Sweden to participate. However, it is currently unclear which Swedish teams will participate. Then the organizer will give Wild Cards to two more Swedish teams. One of the two clubs offered a Wild Card has also accepted the World Cup and it is AIK Bandy from Stockholm who this season has recruited a large number of international star players to fight in the top of Swedish Elitserien..