AIK’s time in the world’s best league came to an end yesterday as they lost to Jönköpings IK. After 18 years at the top, they’ll now relegate to Allsvenskan.
When AIK in the summer of 2016 made massive changes in their roster, replacing the old with young and interesting local talents from lower divisions, no one really knew what to expect from them. Their own long-term ambition was to put Stockholm back on the map of floorball giants, something which hadn’t been the case for a long time.
In their first season as ”AIK 2.0”, spectators and opponents could see a two-faced team – one that could confidently go up against any team and win (E.g. 12-4 vs Storvreta), and another which would get completely crushed (we all remember their shocking 15-0 loss to Falun). It felt like it was a coin-flip every time they entered the field, and the teams could never know which side of AIK they’d be matched against.
With so many new additions to the team, it took a while for AIK to find out how to get the most out of each player, but soon enough they put together the successful first line of Joakim Olsson, Andreas Stefansson and Axel Larson, who would single-handedly carry the team to a victory in some games. Stefansson became rookie of the year with his 50 goals and 10 assists, captain Patrik Hagberg was the league’s 10th best scorer at 55 points followed by Joakim Olsson at 54.
With no one really knowing what to expect from the team in their first season, a 10th place in the table, far from relegation and pretty close to reaching playoffs, people were pretty satisfied but hopeful and excited to see what the newly formed team could accomplish next season after getting a year of experience in the Swedish Super League. Would they take the next step and reach the playoffs?
A tough hit came to the team when Joakim Olsson was announced by Sirius during the spring, meaning AIK would lose one of their most important player of the previous season; he was their 3rd best goal scorer, has years of SSL experience unlike the otherwise young team, and a key player in their crucial first line.
9 new players were signed by AIK last summer, however none of them with any SSL experience, and the gap Olsson had left wasn’t filled. Heading into this season, people saw AIK as a team that still had the potential to upset anyone, just like the season before. But that didn’t end up being the case. A clearly weaker AIK didn’t catch teams off guard this season like they used to, and a lot of points were lost because of that.
3 players in AIK were in the top 11 of the SSL scoring league 2016/17. This season their best is Andreas Stefansson at 18th place, followed by Oskar Hagberg at 33rd. Patrik Hagberg, who became the league’s 10th best scorer, is now all the way down at 46th place. The offensive machine that AIK was last season hasn’t been the same this year.
An AIK in crisis decided to sack their head coach Magnus Jäderlund in the beginning of February, with 7 rounds left to play. The move was controversial and caused a lot of turbulence within the team, and several staff members quit as well. Whether AIK would’ve made it without replacing their coach can be argued back and forth, but the fact still remains that AIK won’t play in the SSL coming season.
With the relegation of AIK, there will no longer be any teams from Stockholm in the Swedish Super League following season – unless Salem or Djurgården from the Northern Allsvenskan can climb up.