The magic was unleashed after AIK's SM-gold of 2013

Skellefteå AIK's 2013 SM-gold medal win marked the start of a renaissance for the town, and this year's victory further reinforces the positive sentiment that Skellefteå is the best of Sweden.

A victory that builds community. Skellefteå AIK celebrated the Swedish Championship gold at Guldtorget on April 30, 2024

A victory that builds community. Skellefteå AIK celebrated the Swedish Championship gold at Guldtorget on April 30, 2024

Foto: Yvonne Rönngren

Engelska2024-05-03 09:09

Spring 2013 was a turning point. Just a few months after relocating to Skellefteå with my Stockholm-born husband (I was a returnee from Norsjö myself!), the town erupted in a frenzy of celebration. 

Skellefteå AIK had just clinched the Swedish Championship (SM) gold medal in ice hockey! We found ourselves swept up in the jubilant atmosphere, with celebrations erupting in the town square and our daughter's preschoolers even getting to touch the Le Mat Trophy. Before our residency was even fully registered, our North Power membership cards arrived.

Since then, black-and-yellow scarves have become a common sight. Now, with Skellefteå AIK's repeat championship win, I find myself pausing to reflect on what this truly means.

Skellefteå really does feel like the best of Sweden.

Because in the spring of 2013, something magical happened. For the first time in a very long time, we experienced the joy of a shared victory. Sure, some might scoff and say it's "just hockey, grown men chasing a rubber puck." But beneath the surface, there's a deeper significance.

In advertising, we used to say the human brain has two decision-making systems: emotional and rational. Emotions often trump logic, which is why car commercials don't just talk about engines and fuel efficiency. 

You could say our move to Skellefteå was a rational choice based on job opportunities, proximity to family, and better housing. However, the emotional aspect was less clear. 

My memories of Skellefteå from the mid-90s weren't particularly rosy, and my husband had explicitly stated a dislike for living north of Uppsala. We didn't feel a yearning to return or envision it as our long-term home.

But that spring day in 2013, the town square pulsed with an irresistible wave of optimism. The once-shrinking city, devoid of hope and where eyebrows were raised at the audacity of bringing in a "Stockholmer" (a real novelty back then!), was brimming with a new feeling. A feeling that anything was possible, that we were the best.

This liberating feeling solidified with the creation of a strong new city brand and the momentous victory of Northvolt choosing Skellefteå for its establishment. 

Those who attended Northvolt's consultation meeting in Scandic's basement know exactly what I'm referring to. The room crackled with the same kind of electric energy as when Skellefteå AIK fights for gold in the arena. A potent conviction that together, we can achieve anything. Northvolt – you simply had no other choice but Skellefteå.

Now, we've clinched another SM gold medal. A phenomenal effort by the entire Skellefteå AIK organization. 

It will be exciting to see how this renewed sense of victory impacts Skellefteå and the surrounding region of Västerbotten. One thing is certain: 2024 has seen a significant influx of new residents (4,608 to be exact). 

Hopefully, they'll join the jubilant throngs at Guldtorget and experience the emotional affirmation that this is where they belong, that Skellefteå is a place for winners!

And future generations of preschool children will carry on the tradition, walking in their Lucia processions and singing the anthem that brings tears to our eyes: "There is a city, a hockey team..." 

Just like my daughter sang with her preschool friends a decade ago, their voices fragile yet filled with pride, light in hand and glitter in hair.

Do I even need to say it? Leaving Skellefteå has never crossed our minds.