Jaerbyn calls it quits
VAIL, Colorado—For two decades, Patrik Jaerbyn was a fixture on the World Cup circuit, carrying Sweden’s lone hopes in the downhill for many of those years. In 2004, that changed, when countryman Hans Olsson joined him on tour, and the Swedish downhill team immediately doubled in size.
Olsson, 28, praised Jaerbyn, 43, who retired after this year, saying his elder teammate was a pioneer, trailblazing a path for the Scandinavian nation—despite lacking an adequate support staff—in the sport’s most thrilling discipline.
“What was most important was that he showed me it was possible to come from Sweden and do well in downhill,” said Olsson. “He was more or less the first Swede to be among the elite on the men’s downhill tour.”
“He had that medal at the world championships and proved it is possible to come from Sweden and beat guys from Austria and Switzerland and the other big teams even though we don’t have the same support as them,” said Olsson.
Jaerbyn surprised many when he sped to a silver medal in super-G at the 1996 World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain, finishing runner-up to Norwegian Atle Skaardal.
“I had a blast on tour, but now it’s his turn to be the old guy on the Swedish team,” Jaerbyn said of Olsson. “I pass the torch on to him.”
Jaerbyn, who currently resides near Vail, Colorado, will coach a few young American racers this winter but admits that he is still in a conundrum as to what the future holds.
“It’s a new stage of my life, so the question is what is the next challenge. It’s a tough task, it’s very confusing,” said Jaerbyn.
Jaerbyn added: “I will miss the pure joy of skiing, the excitement of getting everything dialed in and pushing yourself to the potential of where you can be.”

Myhrer nets first World Cup of season
LEVI, Finland—Andre Myhrer took home the gold medal in the first World Cup slalom race of the season. Myhrer, with a time of 1 minute 49.55 seconds, the Swedish skier picked up where he left things last season. He won the slalom at the finals in Schladming last year to take the crown in the discipline title, and he now starts the new season at the top of the podium.
“It feels great to start the season with a win,” Myhrer said with his usual calm. “This means I can continue to do what I have been doing so far; there is less stress when you start like this.”
When you are the best in the discipline, it’s not always easy to keep it going over the long summer but Myhrer seems to have found a good way, as strong as we left him in March.
“The skiing is there and I had a good summer. I took it easy in spring due to some back problems but was able to slowly increase the training. We also went to New Zealand, as we haven’t been there for two years the change was welcome. I felt really good coming into this race.”
After being only .27 seconds behind Myhrer in the first run, last year’s Overall title winner Marcel Hirscher gave it his best shot at stealing the victory from the Swede. But, his efforts proved just not enough as he finished second, a mere .06 seconds behind the Swede.

HV 71 tops Eliserien
The Eliterien neared the half-way of its regular season, and HV 71 continued to hold down the top spot in the standings. The Jonkoping team has 49 points. HV 71 was 17-5 as of Nov. 19. The Elitserien is no longer playing to ties. If a game ends in overtime in a tie, the teams go to a shootout. The winning team gets two points, the loser gets one.
Skelleftea is in second place with 47 points from a 16-7 record while Lulea is third with a 15-7 record and 42 points. Defending champions Brynas is currently in sixth place with a 12-11 record and 37 points.
Skelleftea first-line teammates Bud Holloway and Joakim Lindstrom lead the league in scoring. Holloway is first with 32 points from 10 goals and 22 assists while Lindstrom has 27 points from nine goals and 18 assists. SAIK is also the hottest team in the Eliserien, riding a six-game winning streak into Round 23.
So far the work stoppage in the NHL has had minimal impact on the Elitserien. Dallas Stars forward Fabian Brunnstrom is back with his former team Frolunda, but he remains one of the few NHL players to head for Sweden. Brunnstrom has 12 points in 22 games with the Chiefs.

Halmstad back in Allsvenskan
It took less than a season for Halmstad to fall apart as an Allsvenskan side. After a bitterly unsuccessful attempt to rely on Spanish players, Halmstad went down to the Superettan, and in the space of the year rebuilt a team that won three titles in 10 years and returned to the Allsvenskan.
Halmstad topped GIF Sundsvall in the home-and-home promotion playoff, topping Sundsvall by a combined score of 8-5. Halmstad won at venerable Orjans Vall 5-1 in the first leg. HBK lost the second 4-3, but the three away goals more than ensured that Halmstad would advance.
“This is just fantastic,” said Halmstad veteran Mikael Svensson. “To be part of this is very special to me. Halmstad always holds a high place in my place. This is where I started and to be able to help the club get back to the Allsvenskan is fantastic.”
Gudjun Baldvinsson was the scoring hero for Halmstad as he netted five goals in the two games, including a pair in the loss to Sundsvall.
Halmstad finished third in the Superettan this season while Sundsvall finished third from last in the Allsvenskan.

Sweden wins opener in 'Zlatan’s house'
The Yankees have the House that Ruth Built: Yankee Stadium. Now, Sweden might just have the House that Zlatan Built.
The Swedish national soccer teams opened their new home at Friends Arena in Solna Nov. 16 with a 4-2 win over England with captain and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring all four goals. Zlatan scored the first-ever goal at the new stadium 20 minutes into the match. After England took a 2-1 lead, Zlatan took over. He tied the game in the 77th minute and put Sweden in front seven minutes later. A minute into stoppage time, he struck an incredible, overhead bicycle goal from 30 meters out to cap Sweden’s win.
Friends Arena is a state-of-the-art stadium modeled after several in North America. The stadium has a retractable roof, which will allow year-round play. It cost $240 million to build.
(For more on the match and Zlatan’s goals, see our website.)