Photo: Al Bello
Tuesday at noon, Swedish center Nicklas Backstrom will be playing in his first game since the Caps regular season ended on April 13th. Backstrom will be participating in Brynäs’s Black and White scrimmage – an exhibition that’s been held every year in Sweden since the 1970’s. Backstrom played three seasons for Brynäs as a teenager before being drafted by the Caps.
For those of you who are hockey starved, I’ve got some great news. The scrimmage will be available to be watched live online via a Brynäs stream at noon (as long as that link is not geo-protected).
“Hey, tomorrow I’m putting on the Brynäs jersey again for the scrimmage,” Backstrom said, as translated by RMNB reader Matilda Wrigsjö. “I’ll see you there.”
Backstrom will join Caps prospect Christian Djoos and eight other NHL players (who are also Brynäs alumni) on the ice.
The game will be two twenty minute periods long and will be held at Brynäs’s home rink, Gavlerinken Arena.
Brynäs’s official website posted more about the history of the game over the weekend.
Tuesday, August 5, it’s time for the scrimmage, black against white. A game where players of Brynäs’s big league team face each other in a friendly game where the battle for victory will be tough.
The scrimmage has a long tradition. This game became the solution when in the early 1970’s they needed to structure the team’s practices [before the season]. The game on the ice was gritty and far from affectionate. When discussions on rules and verdicts became too difficult to determine, it was decided to bring in a real referee.
Said and done. Two referees were called in to the game, including Billy Axelsson who had extensive experience as a professional referee in the Allsvenskan. To ref a scrimmage with Brynäs IF’s winning attitude requires patience. On the lines playing against each other were Hakan Wickberg, Tord Lundström and Stephen “The Dean” Karlsson on one and Jan-Erik Lyck, Lars-Göran Nilsson and Hans “Virus” Lindberg on the other, and the yelling were many and high above the ice on whether it was an offsides or not.
Scrimmages became a tradition and have been played and followed by the fans for many years thereafter. Fights on the ice did not decrease after the referees joined, but internally the games got another effect. The players performed even better than their best. Everyone on the ice wanted to contribute to the winning, losing was not even considered. Many of the players are extra nervous playing these games than any other game during the season. Letting a goal in or making a mistake is unfathomable, it is punished directly by their crazy teammates.
The tradition lives on and Tuesday, August 5, it is time again for the annual scrimmage. There is a lot of prestige up for grabs when head coach Tommy Jonsson picks out the teams that will play against each other. When the puck drops it’s full on serious matter when the black jerseys face the white.
Translation by Matilda Wrigsjö.
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