One newcomer and one team that shouldn’t have left the SSL in the first place. This is how you could describe the two teams that will take a spot in the Swedish SSL of season 2019/2020: Visby and Warberg. Below you find the journey the teams took in securing a ticket in the most prestigious floorball league in the world.
Visby and Warberg played season 18/19 in the Swedish league Allsvenskan South which is one of the two leagues that are located below the SSL. Of the two teams, Warberg was definitely the strongest as they won 20 of their 22 game – with 1 draw and 1 loss – netting them 61 points and a first place by the end of regular season. Visby followed on second place but gathered significant fewer points: 13 wins, 3 ties and 6 losses accumulated to 44 points. The top 4 of each Allsvenskan league then battled for one of two SSL spots in a qualification playoffs.
Visby started the qualification series against Strängas who finished the Allsvenskan South league with 44 points – the same amount of points as Visby which earned them third place. The teams were an equal match in the regular season, both had one win, but with 7-2 and 9-4 victories, Visby could easily plow their way through the best-of-3 to the next round. Here the experienced Team Thorengruppen awaited who were eager to return to the SSL. On 6 April, Thorengruppen won their first game with 9-5 and took their first step in the best-of-5 series. Visby followed up with an important 6-5 home win with two crucial goals in the last ten minutes. The third game would turn out to be a meeting of dramatic proportion. Team Thorengruppen took a 5-1 lead in the first half hour of the game but Visby was not planning to give up the game easily. With two goals at the end of the second period and another two in the final period, extra time was needed to decide the winner. With no goals in overtime, the match was decided by penalty shots in which Visby drew the longest straw. In the fourth game, in front of 1,800 spectators, Visby was given the chance to earn the SSL ticket in front of their home arena. They did so, but again the victory was anything but an easy one. With 20 seconds left, Visby saw Thorengruppen bring back score from 7-5 to 7-6. To the delight of all spectators, the home team was able to keep the goal clean and secure a ticket to the Svenska Superligan!
4-time Swedish champions Warberg also made it to the SSL after playing in the Allsvenskan for 2 years. The team met the number 4 of the Allsvenskan South as the first hurdle towards the SSL. This turned to be Onyx IBK, a strong team containing the #1 (Viktor Palm) and #2 (Jesper Ekström) of the Allsvenskan South point league. However, with a 5-0 lead in the third period it was clear Warberg had a tight grip on their opponents and Onyx’ comeback came too late – the match ended 6-4. The return proved much of the same in which Onyx was set aside 1-6. The next series was a nail-biting finale to the season in which Allsvenskan powerhouse Hagunda IF was the opponent with Fredrik Holtz as the absolute star of the team. The audience could have not asked for a more thrilling series. The first two games were won relatively easily by their respective home team but Hagunda swung the third game in their favor and was one game away from getting their coveted SSL ticket. In the fourth game Warberg took a crucial 4-3 away-win which meant the whole series had to be decided in an all-deciding fifth match. At the start of the final period, with a 3-1 lead, it looked like Hagunda would take the win, but a goal by Simon Svensson and two goals by the experienced Robin Blåberg a couple of minutes before the end turned the game around giving a 4-3 lead to Warberg. The team defended the minimal lead successfully and could celebrate their SSL tickets moments later.