Mar 28, 2023 - Sports

USA aims to medal at Bandy World Championships

The U.S. national women's team. Photo: Gert Holmér

A pair of U.S. national teams that train in Minnesota are in Sweden this week for the 2023 Bandy World Championship.

State of play: The international tournament gives us all a chance to cheer for local athletes as they go for gold in a winter sport that boasts unique connections to our state.

Catch up quick: If you haven't heard of bandy, you're not alone. The fast-paced sport, which has been played in England since at least the 1800s, is often described as a cross between field hockey, ice hockey and soccer.

  • The 11-member teams play on a rink the size of a soccer field. Sticks are shorter than the ones used in ice hockey, and goals are bigger. Instead of a puck, players use an orange ball.

Watch: The rules of bandy explained

Why it matters: Roseville is home to what's believed to be the only regulation-size outdoor bandy rink in the United States.

  • That's why both U.S. national teams, which are largely made up of former hockey players, train here in the Twin Cities.

What they're saying: Neither the men’s nor the women’s U.S. national team has ever made the podium, but that’s something they're hoping to change this year.

  • "We have been very close — [placing] fourth or fifth — but we have not yet medaled, and that is our goal," women’s fullback Briana Jentner Carlson told Axios.

The intrigue: Russia, usually a top contender, isn't sending teams this year because of the war in Ukraine. That could improve Team USA's chances of medaling in both divisions.

What we're watching: Local players and fans have also been involved in a multi-year effort to make bandy a Winter Olympic sport.

  • Carlson said she's hopeful that Sweden winning its bid to host the 2030 games could tip the scales in their favor, since the country is home to a professional league and plenty of rinks.

What's next: The U.S. national men's team was scheduled to play its first match against Finland early Tuesday morning.

The opening rounds for both divisions are round robin format. Championship games will be played over the weekend.

📺 Stream games here


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