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"Hard Hardy" Fired

Published fredag 24 september 2004 kl 13.59

The Swedish Ice Hockey Association fired national hockey team coach Hardy Nilsson on Thursday, three weeks after a humiliating loss in the World Cup quarterfinals.

At a press conference in Stockholm, association director Christer Englund said, ”We’ve lost our confidence in Hardy.” He added that the decision was not based on the World Cup loss but said Nilsson had not been active enough in promoting the team to its sponsors and fans. Team boss Claes-Göran Wallin will lead the team until a new coach is named.

Nilsson, 57, was heavily criticized by Swedish media and hockey supporters after the national team was routed 6-1 by the Czech Republic on home ice in the quarterfinals of the World Cup on Sept. 7. Canada went on to win the event.

Nilsson’s performance has been frequently questioned by Swedish newspaper columnists ever since Sweden lost sensationally to Belarus in the quarterfinals of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The 4-3 loss was dubbed one of the worst in the history of Swedish sport.

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