Josefine Persson celebrates a win with her Danish teammates. Photo: Karel Svec
Last Division I host hopes to surprise
Denmark has produces several NHL players and is now also making a move on the world of women’s hockey.
For the first time ever Denmark hosted an IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship event with last year’s Division I Group A in Aalborg.
Denmark is not exactly known for a strong women’s league due a lack of depth between the clubs leading to some outrageous results. Although, the level of domestic play may not be among the best of the continent, the individual talent certainly arises and those with the ambition to be great hockey players find a way to develop their game and are beginning to make a move from their beloved Denmark to stronger hockey nations like Sweden, USA and Canada.
There is no better example of immaculate women’s talent coming out of Denmark than 22-year-old Josefine Persson, who made the move in 2016 to Sweden to play for AIK Stockholm, one of the biggest clubs in the whole country.
In her last three years in the Danish women’s league it would be a complete understatement to say that Persson dominated her opposition while playing for Hvidovre, scoring 111 points in 2012/13, 134 points in 2013/14 and 108 points in 2014/15. Her performance left her with only one choice in reality and that was to make a move to Sweden.
IIHF.com got the chance to catch up with the young Danish star.
You have spent this season playing for AIK Stockholm in Sweden. Do you feel that there is much more expectation on you to perform from all of the people around the Danish women’s team after playing this year in a much tougher league?
Yeah, but that is ok, it’s in a good way. I just have to play my game, then I think it will be fine.
You had such an amazing three-year period in the Danish women’s league before you moved to Sweden. How have you been able to adjust to the different level of hockey there?
There is much tougher competition and all the teams are very strong. You just can’t go in and make five goals in every game. So it is at a very high level and I like to play hockey in Sweden.
What has been the hardest thing for you about moving to Sweden and playing hockey there?
The toughest thing was to move from family and friends and to be by myself in Sweden. I then had to get a job, because you can’t just play hockey as a woman in Sweden. It is all fine now though, I have my friends on the team and also at work.
What part of your game has developed the most and what have you been trying to improve?
To win the puck in the corners and just dig in and work hard there. I also have the tendency to get really nervous, so I have learnt to control myself a bit better so I don’t get these nerves. I just need to play the game I can and just trust myself.
Would you recommend other girls from Denmark to make a similar move like you have done and play hockey in Sweden?
Yes. The level is more trying here. I think we have a lot of girls that have the potential to play in the Riksserien here. I know that there is a few more Danish girls coming to Sweden next year so that’s great.
What are your goals personally over the next few years? Do you have any desire to possibly make a move to North America?
Probably not the United States, but I think about Canada. I am not old, but I am almost too old to play in college in the United States. Canada could be a very good opportunity for me, but we will have to wait and see.
What do you think are good goals for Danish women’s hockey and how would you like to see it improve?
I think we should focus on the national team moving up into the highest division. Right now many of the good players are moving from Denmark. When the players move, the level of hockey [in the Danish league] gets worse. So I think we should focus on the national team right now and also on developing the young girls.