It has been a long road back to the top for Rungsted Ishockey. Situated 30 kilometres to the north of the Danish capital, Rungsted’s fans have been starved of success in recent years, and even faced a spell in the Danish second tier due to financial difficulties.
However, rising like a phoenix, Rungsted completed a stunning season with a 4-0 sweep of SønderjyskE in the Metal Ligaen Final to claim their first Danish title since 2002. The first man to touch the trophy was captain Marcus Olsson. The 32-year-old Swedish forward has been a centrepiece of Rungsted’s offence since joining the club in 2017.
Winning the Danish crown has been a long time coming for Olsson, after three consecutive bronze medals between 2016 and 2018.
“Nobody wants to get the bronze medal”, Olsson commented. “We’re always aiming for the gold, so it feels really good to finally get it”.
Rungsted’s powerhouse offence was crucial to the team’s success this season. The club swept Herlev in the Quarter-Finals, scoring 24 goals in just four games. In assessing the reasons for Rungsted’s victorious Playoff run, Olsson said, “First of all we had good players, and that’s obviously key. I also think that one of the main reasons for our team’s success was because we became really tight as a group. Everybody played for the team, and put the team first, not just thinking of personal success”.
“You could tell that the team set really high goals before the season even started”, Olsson added. “We were aiming to win the regular season, then the Final4 [Danish domestic cup], and then the playoffs. Obviously, it is easier said than done, but we managed it. One of the main reasons for this was because the team set the standard and goals from day one. From the managers, to the coaches, to the players, and to the equipment managers – everybody in the team".
Rungsted is a small town, but hockey really means a lot for the town and the fans
The only bumps in the road for Rungsted came during the Semi-Finals against Frederikshavn White Hawks. The series was tied 2-2 after four games, before Rungsted routed the Hawks in a 6-0 victory. In the process, Olsson proved why he has the “C” on his jersey, scoring two goals the Game 5 victory.
“After winning that game, we became even more confident”, Olsson said. “When we went to Frederikshavn to play them we expected it to be a tough game. But mentally we had decided that we were going to win that game.”
Rungsted’s victory sparked wild celebrations amongst fans and players. Referring to the team’s difficult years, Olsson said, “I kind of expected that it would be great for the fans, but I was overwhelmed. When we had the celebrations last week, you could tell how much it meant to all the fans. Rungsted is a small town, but hockey really means a lot for the town and the fans.”
I think it’s going to be a great challenge for the players and a lot of fun for the fans
One of the perks of winning the Danish title is participation in the Champions Hockey League, which brings Europe’s hockey elite right to fans’ doorsteps. Olsson commented on his and Rungsted’s excitement of playing in the CHL for the first time.
“First of all, for the fans I think it’s going to be a lot of fun because they’re going to see teams they don’t normally see. And these are some of the best teams in Europe, so it’s going to be awesome for the fans to see great players coming to Rungsted”.
“For the players, I think it’s a great opportunity to come out and play really good teams and play against great players. Overall, I think it’s going to be a great challenge for the players and a lot of fun for the fans”.
Olsson is no stranger to European competition. He played in the European Trophy in 2012 and 2013 as a member of the Vienna Capitals, a fellow CHL qualifier. Rungsted Ishockey will find out if they will return to Olsson’s old team following the Champions Hockey League Draw, on 22 May.
“I love Vienna. I had two great years there, so I wouldn’t mind returning to play there”, said Olsson.
No Danish team has yet to make it to the Playoff Round in the CHL, and when asked if Rungsted could be the first, Olsson added, “We know it is going to be a huge challenge for our team, but we’re looking forward to it. Once the game starts, you always do all you can to win. That is our starting point. Our mindset just has to be that we are going to have to play our best hockey to have a good outcome”.
“Why not? We have to believe, right?”