Frans Nielsen’s hometown Danes didn’t advance to the Quarterfinals at the World Championship, but the tournament, held in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark, has given Danish hockey a boost.
The Associated Press’s Karl Janicek spoke with Nielsen and his teammates regarding the effects of the World Chapionship upon the game they’re trying to promote:
Danish hockey is on the rise, even though the Danish hockey team has been knocked out of the world championships.
The national team’s early elimination at its first world championships on home ice can hardly overshadow the boost the tournament has given the sport in the country.
“I hope it spreads awareness of hockey in Denmark for a lot of families and hopefully they’ll try to get their kids to play hockey,” Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand said. “Hopefully it gets more hockey kids involved and more media attention on hockey, of course. It’s something we’re hoping for at this tournament.”
“That’s been a long way (for Danish hockey),” Nielsen said. “It’s been incredible and we’re proud of where we are today.”
At this year’s worlds, Denmark enjoyed huge support from the roaring home fans mostly wearing red and white jerseys at their games in Herning. After the victories, the crowd and players sang the Danish national anthem together.
“The whole city backs us up here,” said Nielsen, who is from Herning. “It’s been incredible.”