Swedish Superligan

How Joel Kanebjörk can be the best transfer of this season (and how he can be the worst)

Photo: Jerry Gray

Earlier today IBF Örebro announced one of the biggest transfers of the season. The name is Joel Kanebjörk, the destination Örebro where he will play with the newcomers. 

With 13 seasons in the SSL, Joel Kanebjörk is one of the veterans in the SSL. He has seen it all: he has won the Swedish Championships three times with Storvreta, and with the national team he became World Champions. When he parted ways with Storvreta at the end of the 2013/2014 season, AIK turned out to be his new destination. After two and a half seasons, the center returned to his old friends. Storvreta had a squad the size you would see in The World Games (hint: not big) and, to make matters worse, suffered from Alexander Rudd’s absence. AIK, on the other hand, opted for a playing style that didn’t need Joel Kanebjörk’s stable input and opted for youthly, less controlled, energy. It was a gamble and resulted in surprising wins but also record breaking losses. The transfer was a match made in heaven. Joel Kanebjörk had more playtime and Storvreta made it, perhaps surprisingly, all the way to the semifinals but eventually lost to Swedish champions Falun. However, it was a short second marriage. After the season Storvreta thanked the center for his help and Joel’s future was open again.

This is when IBF Örebro came into the picture. When the Swedish newspapers published rumors about the upcoming transfer and IBF Örebro announced a press conference surrounding the arrival of a new player, it was obvious Joel had found a new home. And a new home it is, literally. It will be Örebro’s first year in the SSL which, historically, is the hardest season for any club. Many succumb to the pressure and fail to avoid relegation.

“I think it will be very amusing and good, that’s one of the reasons I chose Örebro”, Joel told FloorballToday during the press conference. “It’s a different mission than before. Each week will look a little bit different than before and I like that way”, he continued. Having played in Storvreta and AIK for so many years, there has to be some form of mental repetition. At some point, you know your team and you know your opponents, after years of play. However, in the new season, every match is a new match by itself where his team has to invent itself: “we need to prepare and see each game more individual than before.

Every professional floorball player has personal goals. With a new team, Joel’s first goal is perhaps obvious: “I think, first of all,  I want to get very comfortable quite fast, so I can play my game, be myself in my game.” His second goal, however, is perhaps more telling when he says that he should “maybe try to be a bit more edgy”. Joel has never been a goal scorer like Galante or Kim Nilsson and we don’t expect he will ever be one either. But he does excel in providing strength and stability to his team, a feature that is perhaps underrated in today’s game. However, paired with the right teammates, he can be deadly. During the WFC2016 many were surprised by Sweden’s ‘powerline’. The line consisted of powerhouses Rikard Eriksson, Johannes Larsson and.. Joel Kanebjörk. The line was highly effective during the tournament and even scored two goals during the finals against Finland.

Now it’s IBF Örebro’s task to find out how they can maximize the potential of their new purchase. He doesn’t fit in any formation. He has his strength but also has his weaknesses, like any player. However, find the right players to place next to him and you have one of SSL’s deadliest weapons at your disposal. Do we need an edgier Joel Kanebjörk? It wouldn’t harm. But what we need, foremost, is having Joel paired with the right players and the right strategy. It will be the key to Örebro’s success the coming season.

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