Kom igen! Nu gar vi!

NHL Sweden is gearing up for the regular season with a multilingual celebration of the game.
NHL Svierge

The NHL has told us time and time again that “hockey is for everyone.”

That’s a slogan the league adopted in 2017, initially part of a month-long campaign to celebrate diversity among players and fans (it’s since expanded to a year-long, ongoing effort).

Admittedly, the league has a lot to work against if it wants to prove its mettle in diversity. There are currently no out LGBTQ players in the League, and while players of colour are on the rise (such as Lebanese-Canadian player Nazem Kadri, or black players P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators, Seth Jones of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Trevor Daley and Madison Bowey of the Detroit Red Wings, as well as Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, whose mother hails from Mexico), the league and surrounding media is still largely white (Matthews was compared by some in the hockey media to violent druglord Pablo Escobar after… growing a moustache). Female fans have also criticized the league and media for not doing enough to recognize female fans, pointing out that most commentators, analysts and reporters are still men. Oh, and then there was this whole thing.

When the spotlight shines – rightfully so – on these setbacks for the league, it’s easy to brush off the idea of hockey as a unifying sport. And yet, there’s still something so magical about the sport that pulls us onto the couch to take in a game. Few of us can forget the shared spirit of triumph in 2010 when Team Canada took home the gold, while for many fans the Winter Classic is as big of a day as Christmas.

And when a video manages to perfectly capture the love of hockey across languages, generations and background – like the Tims classic “Proud Fathers” – it can really cut through to a fan’s soul.

The latest video to capture that feeling is one from the league itself – specifically, from NHL Sweden. As the clock ticks down to the regular season, the video was posted alongside a Tweet with a single question: Vi är redo. Är du?

Wait, what? Time to pull our your Swedish dictionary.

Ah yes, “We’re ready. Are you?”

It’s a simple and fun video, but aside from accomplishing exactly what you’d want it to – highlighting some of the NHL’s top talent in a way that gets us jumped up for the season – but adds a nice underlying message about linguistic diversity in the NHL.

 

We sometimes forget that hockey players do indeed come from near and far, and that many from northern Europe come into the league with little knowledge of English.

One of those players is beloved Bruins right-winger David “Pasta” Pastrnak; the Czech player opens the video with an enthusiastic statement we can’t quite translate at the time (sorry, readers, we’re not fluent in Czech), but when the announcer comes in and we see Pastrnak play, the important part comes in: “Pojd’me” – let’s go!

Pastrnak is followed by some of the league’s top multilingual players – Swedish-born Nicklas Bäckstöm (Washington Capitals) chanting “Nu kör vi!”, Germany’s Tom Kühnhackl shouting “An die arbeit!” and many more, including Swiss player Timo Meier (San Jose Sharks), Swedish-Canadian William Nylander (Toronto Maple Leafs) and more.

Elsewhere around the league, creative teams are putting their heads together to build anticipation in different ways; NBC has embraced the universal language of rock and roll, pairing with rock band Green Day to repurpose the band’s new single “Fire, Ready, Aim” into a hockey anthem; a new spot (below) features Billie Joe and the boys bringing the rinkside rocker to life along with Ovi, Pietrangelo, Matthews and many more.

Whatever gets you fired up – and whatever language it is – we say, go big or go home.

By the way, since Ukrainian wasn’t represented in the video, allow this Stim writer to teach you something new today: Давай! Ходімо! (pronounced: “Davay! Khodimo”)! Come on, let’s go!