Hockey, the great Cornwall-Kungälv equalizer

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By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario - The Cornwall connection to Kungälv, Sweden started with hockey, but the camaraderie of friendly competition has kept it alive off the ice for nearly a decade.

The Seaway Valley Rapids Hockey Association and hockey players from Kungälv, Sweden, share an international connection on and off the ice.

After a lengthy travel, a collection of 43 hockey players, all 13 and 14-year-olds, and their families arrived in the Seaway City on April 8, with a departure date of April 13.

Fifteen Swedish hockey players were billeted with members of the Seaway Valley minor bantam AA Rapids and their family.

Lars-Ove Haraldsson, Kungälv-Cornwall trip organizer, says the event has been ongoing for the last eight out of nine years.

"It has become a tradition and the connection keeps on growing," said Haraldsson.

He's already been approached by another group of young Kungälv hockey players for next year's trip.

"The Benson Centre is exactly what we would like to have back home. This is a utopia," he said.

On Friday, April 11, Team Sweden faced off against Team Canada at the Benson Centre. Cornwall fans were cheering as the local team won 3-0.

Emerson Lalonde scored a goal, and Jordan Canham lit up the scoreboard not just once, but twice, earning him first star of the game.

Unable to clinch a spot in the playoffs this season, the Rapids were glad to taste victory. Dawson Irving, 14, earned the shutout.

"It was an awesome week. I was able to play against people from another country," said Irving. "This is a shutout I won't forget."

His opponent Carl Hansson, 13, displayed true sportsmanship by congratulating him on the impressive performance.

It was Hansson's first time in the country. He stayed with the Irvings to get a full dose of Canadiana.

"Besides playing hockey, the most exciting parts of this trip was meeting the Irvings," said Hansson.

Randy Irving, team manager, said his son heavily anticipated the arrival of the Swedish players.

"The trip is very exciting for the Rapids and the city. All the players have a great time, and learn a lot about competing on an international level," said Randy.

Geographic location: Kungälv, Sweden

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  • Dawson
    April 11, 2014 - 23:10

    What a great chance for players from two different countries to come together to play a fun old fashion hockey game.