Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Trip to Hässleholm to see the Hurricanes Play and to Rekindle Old Friendships

Saturday, 10 June, 2017:

We left the house at 6:00 a.m. to start the journey to the southern end of Sweden known as Skåne.

We would arrive in the city of Hässsleholm about six hours later after trip involving a bus, a commuter train and a higher speed long distance train from Stockholm.

 The purpose of our trip was this
Division I Södra
American football game

Ekeby Greys (3-2)
Hässleholm Hurricanes (2-2)

I was the Head Coach of the Hässleholm Hurricanes back in 2010 and still had a lot of good memories of the city and the people connected with the team.

It was time to visit old friends again.

If you need some, you can buy
it at a shop in Stockholm Central
train station

It took us about three hours and 50 minutes on a comfortable train to go from Stockholm to Hässleholm.

At Hässleholm's Central train station we were greeted by former star Center Johan Persson who is now retired from the game but serves as the P.A. announcer at the Hurricanes' games.

He does a bit of color commentary as well during the game to stir the crowd.

The Hurricanes warming up

Those dapper hats made for
stylish refereeing crew

With Big Linus Nilsson
before the game

He was a great Offensive Tackle for us back in 2010. Today, pressed into emergency service, he would play on the Defensive Line.

Big Linus is now a high school Social Science teacher in Växjö, Sweden.

The 'Canes only had 17 players dressed out for the contest. 

The Greys had 24 men in uniform today.

That did not bode well for the local squad.

Let the action begin!
Hurricanes in black

'Canes punting

Not a pretty Greys pass
but it was caught in the flat

After one period of play, Ekeby led 3-0.

The TE pop pass was an
effective weapon for Ekeby

Ekeby punter in the shadow of
his goal posts

'Canes back on defense

While the Hässleholm offense did have a few big plays during the contest, they were mostly inconsistent with penalties really hurting our club.

At the half it was
Ekeby 13 - Hässleholm 0

With local sportswriter
Tomas Gustavsson

He wrote some kind articles about the Hurricanes when I was coaching here in 2010 and continues to report on the club for the local paper.

With Mats Heningsson

Mats is Johan Persson's Father and simply a genuine good guy!

Ref stepping it up

So did the Greys in the third quarter.

Ekeby slant pass for a TD
on the opening drive of the
second half

The Greys scored 28 points in the third quarter to both lead by a tally of 41-0 and invoke the 35 point Mercy Rule.

It was a running clock for the rest of the game.

The sky was gorgeous

More Ekeby Offense . . .

. . . but the 'Canes defense held them
out of the end zone on this drive

Ekeby won the game by a final score of 41-0.

The Greys finished the regular season at 4-2 and in third place in the seven team Division I Södra circuit.

Our Hurricanes are now 2-3 and play their last game of the campaign on the road next weekend against the first place, 4-0 Göteborg Marvels.

Post game, it was time to say hello to more old friends.

With Sarah and Lucas Grip

Lucas is in his 18th season playing American football!

As tradition has it, the post game party was going to be held at his home and we were invited.

Big Linus Nilsson's helmet
still had its decals from 2010

With Little Linus Jonsson

Unfortunately, Little Linus who is actually buffed out from lots of work at the gym, could not play today due to a leg injury. 

With the Grill Master
Frank Hilgers

His hot dogs, grilled to perfection, were awesome today!

Hässleholm's Göingevallen Stadium
Home of the Hurricanes

What a great venue for an American football game!

After the game, we toured Johan Persson's new workshop/office where he builds excellent acrylic display boxes for all sorts of collectible items including Star Wars figures.

Johan Hammarqvist then picked us up and took us from Johan Persson's shop to take us to the Hammarqvist home.

The lovely Hammarqvist
back yard, perfect for a BBQ

The Hammarqvists graciously agreed to be our hosts for our two night stay in Hässleholm.

Huge old chest in our bedroom

It was built in 1841, WOW!

After dinner, we headed over to the home of Sarah and Lucas Grip for the team party.

It was good to see old and new Hurricanes socializing after a game, win or lose.

With Johan Persson
The Voice of the Hurricanes

EuroBall friendships last a lifetime, Saturday was a good day.

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