Will former giant Warberg IC return to the SSL?

Photo: Krister Andersson

All the older Floorball fans will remember the times when AIK IBF and Warberg IC were the two main contenders for the SSL title. Nowadays, they are playing in the Allsvenskan, but maybe we’ll see one of the two champions fighting in the SSL again next season. This article is about AIK (and how they didn’t make it back to the SSL yet) and Warberg (who are still in the race).

Not even 10 years ago AIK and Warberg were battling in the Swedish Superfinal to determine who would be the Swedish champion. In the Globen Arena, in front of thousands of fans, AIK were crowned as the champions of Sweden. They took the title of season 2008/2009 by beating their biggest competitor Warberg IC with a score of 6-2. Not long after this, their decline commenced.

These two teams have been dominating Floorball between 2005 and 2010. Warberg have won 4 Swedish titles in history (1997-1998, 2004-2005, 2006-2007, 2007-2008). Moreover, they were three times the best of Europe (1998-1999, 1999-2000, 2005-2006). AIK has been the Swedish champions three times (2005-2006, 2008-2009). Like Warberg, they have also won the European title thrice. This happened over three consecutive years (2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009).

For the Floorball romantics it has been painful to see these teams slowly falling behind in the SSL. They played some big games against each other like the thrilling SSL final in 2007/2008 which ended in a victory for Warberg after penalty shoot-outs. Warberg reached the final for the last time in 2010-2011 to lose to former champions Storvreta IBK. After that, they never came further than the quarter finals in the SSL play-offs. In the season 2016-2017, what many were dreading happened: Warberg ended up in last place and relegated to the Allsvenskan. Last season they reached the play-offs for promotion, but didn’t manage to return to the SSL. Also in that season, it was AIK’s turn to relegate to the Allsvenskan. The relegation of these teams meant a loss of much history for the SSL.

This season, both teams qualified in their own district (Allsvenskan north and Allsvenskan south) for the play-offs. Warberg even ended up in first place of their league and therefore have a good chance to return to the SSL. Moreover, they qualified for the second and final play-off round by beating Onyx IBK (6-2 and 1-6). Now, the only thing left between them and the SSL is one more play-off round, a best-of-five series against Hagunda IF.

For AIK however, the season is over. They ended up in 4th place of their league and played against the number one team (Team Thorengruppen SK) for a spot in the next play-off round. The first game ended in a loss, the second in a victory, but the third yet again in a loss.

Maybe, the outcome of the play-offs will bring back one iconic team to the SSL. The first game starts on Saturday, April 6.

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