In 1995 the World Ice Hockey Championships were played in Sweden. For a long time many people looked forward being starstruck while watching the tournament since it was a lockout in the National Hockey League that year. That meant that all the professional players were available to represent their countries. Series of collector cards with stars like Peter Forsberg, Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros, among others were printed. However, the lockout ended which resulted in fewer big stars in the World Championships than usual.
The group stage
The group stage were played in Gävlerinken and Globe Arena in Sweden. The teams were divided into two groups of seven teams each. The four best teams in each group reached the quarterfinals. Russia won group 1 before Italy (!), France (!) and Canada in fourth place. Germany and Switzerland missed the playoffs. In group 2 team USA won the group before Finland and Sweden. Czech Republic finished fourth. Norway and Austria missed the playoffs.
In the playoffs, USA who won group 2 were eliminated against Canada. Finland and Sweden got easier journeys against Italy and France. Tough luck for USA. In the semifinals Finland beat Czech Republic, reaching their second consecutive World Championship-final. In 1994 they lost against team Canada after penalties. Canada won their first gold medal since 1961 while Finland still had zero gold medals before the 1995 tournament.
Canada were drawn against Sweden in the semifinal. The teams met in the 1994 Olympic final were Sweden won after a magic penalty by a young Peter Forsberg. Once again we got to enjoy a dramatic and intense game between two great nations of hockey. Once again Sweden managed to get the win after an overtime goal by Daniel Alfredsson.
In the final, however, Finland was the better team. Ville Peltonen scored a hat-trick in a one-sided game that ended with a Finnish World Championship gold, their first, after beating their nordic rivals with 4-1. This year Finland had a splendid team in Europe, starring names like Jere Lehtinen, Saku Koivu, goaltender Jarmo Myllys among others. They had a significant advantage when the NHL season got a late start. In the absence of established hockey stars we got to see some future ones instead.
This was just one of many interesting meetings between Sweden and Finland. The two teams have faced each other plenty of times in World Cups, World Championships and Olympics. We will be back with a top-10-list!