Johan Forsberg is a professional Ice Hockey player at Luleå Hockey. In October 2015 he posted a stunning open letter to ALL young Swedish Ice Hockey players on his Facebook page. This was a response to the ongoing, often polarised debate in Sweden with regard to early talent identification, early selection and elite programs. This emotional message is relevant to all youth sports. I urge you to share it with as many people as possible. This is a must read for all children, parents, coaches, Governing Bodies and club stakeholders.
To all young ice hockey players
I never got to play in TV- Pucken (An elite Swedish national Ice Hockey tournament for district teams of boys under 15 years of age)
I was very bad at skating, among other things and I have not been much better since.
I remember the tears and shame. I wanted to quit playing ice hockey
I threw the equipment in a corner at home in the garage and felt no joy for my friends who got a place in the elite camp.
I felt no joy
But I wiped my tears and continued to train, continued to have fun and tried to convince myself that sport had a deeper meaning
Community, joy, dreams
And also other tears
Now I sit hear smelling of sweat after another day at work as a professional hockey player
I never really learned to skate properly
But I learned that everything does not end even if it feels like it has
That life, sport and the future is what it is
And to all young ice hockey players
Support each, be a good friend
Have fun and enjoy
Sport is more that blood, sweat and tears
More than sorrow
Don’t forget that
Love and Respect
Johan Forsberg – Luleå Hockey.