Although hockey has existed in Växjö since the early 1970s, the Lakers only came into existence in 1997 after the previous team went bankrupt.
Having worked their way up from Division 4 all the way to the SHL, the Lakers have now established themselves at the top of the Swedish game. Despite the three call-ups for under-20 junior player Jonathan Augustin in the Champions Hockey League, there’s nobody in the Växjö first team that was originally born in the Swedish city. That's not altogether surprising, given its population of just over 66,000.
For that reason, the Lakers have resorted to their neighbours to find an adopted ‘local hero’. Fortunately for them, if you drive 20 minutes to the west of Växjö you’ll find Alvesta, a locality known for being an important railway junction in Sweden. However, if you ask a Lakers fans what Alvesta is known for, there’s a good chance they’ll reply with the name Robert Rosén.
Born on the 25 June 1987, Rosén first played for Växjö at the age of 18 in the 2005/06 season, the first in a five-year spell with the club. In the final season of that spell, he accumulated 57 points; a figure which still stands as the third-highest in the club’s history. The points weren’t enough to earn Växjö a promotion to the top division, which is where Rosén departed to for the next two seasons. In 2012/13, which coincidentally happened to be Växjö’s inaugural season in the SHL, the Swedish centre went on to top the league in points and assists with AIK. In the Summer of 2012, the Lakers were able to reclaim their man, who signed a five-year contract. It only took Rosén three years to help his team clinch the Swedish championship, a moment which he’s described as his best memory.
After more than 12 years since his debut season with Växjö, Rosén has successfully imprinted his name into the club’s history. He’s played more games, scored more goals, assisted more players and racked up more points than anybody else.
The Lakers can also count on the support of some celebrity fans from the town. Former tennis greats Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg are among those famous faces from Växjö, as is former Formula 1 driver Stefan Johansson.