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A good outcome of the Swedish civil court



There are always things we wish to be undone, perhaps sometimes even deeply regret, but most of us have the dignity to take the responsibility for our actions and not hide behind a pile of excuses.

Yes, it happens also that we do point the finger at each other despite the fact that every one of us is far from being a perfect human.

But, let us stop here for a moment and let me come back a bit further in time, and I will go through the story first before I continue my reasoning.

About two years ago, the south Swedish derby in the SHL occurred between Malmö Redhawks and Rögle from the city of Ängelholm, a very prestigious game. Something to talk about among fans from both sides weeks before and weeks after.

But the aftermath of that particular game was not about the action on the ice, it was about the reckless head check by the Rögle player Jakob Lilja (nowadays in Linköping) on his opponent Jens Olsson in Malmö.

Here is the clip of that head check that caused almost a major injury for Jens Olsson, click on the link:

Similar idiotic assaults have happened before, some worse, and some less bad, in most leagues ever since hockey has emerged as a sport.

Quite a lot of players have been suspended or fined and quite a lot have gotten away with it without any consequence or even the slightest feeling of regret.

But this time, someone said “enough,” perhaps in time before everyone lost any sort of common sense and brought this situation to the District Court, who didn’t see any outcome other than to sentence Jakob Lilja and give him also probation.

The Court of Appeals didn’t see any other outcome either and ruled that the verdict would remain as it has been decided in the District Court.

Do you recall that I said earlier that most of us have the dignity to stand for our actions and take some responsibility?

Unfortunately, Jakob Lilja didn’t take that obligation as he chose to stand behind that pile of excuses instead, and appeal the verdict to the highest court.

And, yes, he has his share of objectors as support, those who also think that anything on the ice is allowed (probably outside the ice too).

However, thankfully, there also many including the undersigned, who believe in a fair world with fair actions, that you cannot do exactly anything you want on the ice because of the game’s to-some-extent violent nature.

Check,  yes of course, because that is actually a part of the sport, even if there are only a few who actually can master that discipline.  But to intentionally hurt another player with a heinous head check from behind with the stick doesn’t belong anywhere except in the civil court.

Not sure really though which part of this situation was worse than the other: the hit itself, the total lack of respect or his absolute lack of care and responsibility for what he did, whether his opponent was badly injured or not.

I am quite sure that deep within, any of us fans, media, coaches, teammates or opponents don’t want that kind of a player on the ice for real.

Therefore, it was a good outcome of the Swedish court to find him guilty of assault, because this kind of action has to stop as soon as possible if we want to keep a good game to follow.

Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.

-Lawrence Sterne, Irish novelist, 1713-1768.


Oisin Cantwell, a columnist from the Swedish media Aftonbladet with deep knowledge in jurisprudence agreed that the verdict was reasonable indeed. Source:–domen-ar-rimlig

It is in Swedish, therefore I do recommend the rough google translation.

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Arto Palovaara, Sunday Chronicler for Sports Rants Europe. Previously, he contributed for the betting company Betsafe, Svenska fans, Get real hockey and Ice nation UK. He is also an educated archaeologist and life coach who loves literature and history. Not to forget: probably he is the only sportswriter that plays the banjo.