by | Jun 3, 2024 | History

Ljusdal, Sweden

It started on a train in Märsta, north of Stockholm…

The goal was a first meeting with the Swedish Bandy Federation’s PR committee. Björn Swartswe was a newly elected member. On the trip from Hälsingland in the northern part to Stockholm, he felt he might have to have something to bring to his first meeting. As he looked out over the forests outside the train, he thought of an event in fiery-cross orienteering “Tiomila” that has become very popular in Sweden. The competition is ongoing during a weekend with most of the stages thru the nights. He remembered the well-known sports commentator Sven “Plex” Pettersson’s whispered live reports on the radio out in the forest. The competition is still a popular event. If you can organize orienteering in the middle of the night, you must be able to play bandy around the clock too! That was the things that was ongoing in the head of Mr Swartswe on that train. The idea that became a long-term success was born in Björn’s head.

The idea came as a shock to several of the committee members in Stockholm and they probably considered the man from the north to be quite crazy.

Björn Swartswe

But Björn had formed ideas in the past that reshaped sports. Such as badminton, which developed from the school’s gymnasium into one of the biggest sports in the district. The first international competition north of the Dalälven was organized in Ljusdal. He touched field hockey as well, which gave Ljusdal bronze in the Swedish Champions League quite quickly. Björn was also team manager when Ljusdals BK became Swedish champions in bandy in 1975. As a player, he also won a gold with Edsbyn.

At that meeting in Stockholm, he managed to bring the committee along, of course. He selected a unique prize, a car, and the first tournament was named the DAF Cup. 16 teams participated and Sandviken’s AIK won historic first tournament after a final victory against Brobergs IF on a penalty shootout. 

Many doubted Björn’s idea of playing bandy at night. He was even crazier when he also applied for a patent on the event. He was of course rejected, but he won the attention and that was his only intention.

As a profession, Björn had worked both at the Police and as a school counselor, so it was not surprising that he got a lot of ideas.

The unusual day and night tournament became a big event in Ljusdal for 25 years. But the climate and warmer autumns moved the event indoors in Sandviken 2009. And that is a later story and the decision to move the World Cup from Ljusdal has never been a decision that has been supported by Björn Swartswe. “We only had a few games that was cancelled due to bad ice, but all the happenings around the event will never be able to continue when you play indoors.” And he was right about that, it became another type of tournament without carousels, pole vaults and other activities for the audience.

For thousands of bandy lovers, players, coaches, media workers and officials the years in Ljusdal are memories for life…

The team that became historic!

Happy team members after the final victory. They took their DAF home to Sandviken. It was later sold. On his way into the driver’s seat is legendary coach Sven Karlsson, who coached the team for 25 consecutive seasons. Unique!