Bandy - Countries - Sweden

Sweden

Bandy was introduced to Sweden in 1895. The Swedish royal family, barons and diplomats were the first players. Swedish championships for men have been played annually since 1907. In the 1920s students played the game and it became a largely middle class sport. After Slottsbrons IF won the Swedish championship in 1934 it became popular amongst workers in the smaller industrial towns and villages. Bandy remains the main sport in many of these places.

Bandy in Sweden is famous for its "culture" – both playing bandy and being a spectator requires great fortitude and dedication. A "bandy briefcase" ("bandyportfölj" in Swedish) is the classic accessory for spectating – it is typically made of brown leather, well worn and contain a warm drink in a thermos and/or a bottle of liquor. Bandy is most often played at outdoor arenas during winter time, so the need for spectators to carry flask or thermoses of 'warming' liquid like Glögg is a natural effect.

A notable tradition is "Annandagsbandy", bandy on Boxing Day, which formerly marked the start of the bandy season and always draw bigger crowds than usual. Matches traditionally begin at 1:15 pm.

The final match for the Swedish Championship is played every year on the third Sunday of March at Studenternas Idrottsplats in Uppsala, drawing crowds in excess of 20,000. The reason for why the play-off match is set in Uppsala is because of IFK Uppsala and its success in the beginning of the 20th century. IFK Uppsala won 11 titles in the Swedish Championships between 1907 and 1920.

From 2013 the final will be played indoors in Friends Arena, the new national stadium for football with retractable roof with a capacity of 50 000.

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