Late Olympic debut for Danish men
Denmark lost to Poland in 1991 in qualification games for the 1992 Olympics. They lost in a group round robin trying to make it to the 1998 Games, failed to qualify again in 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018. But finally in the summer of 2020, they beat their greatest nemesis, Norway, and advanced to the Olympics for the first time. And they did it right in Oslo, making the historic moment all the sweeter.
On 29 August 2021, with a spot in the Olympics up for grabs – win, you’re in; lose, you’re out – the Danes defeated Norway, 2-0, at Jordal Amfi, which was the host venue for the 1952 Olympics but was recently reconstructed.
Sebastian Dahm recorded the shutout, and he is one of 17 players who were in that game who have now been named to the team’s Olympic roster released today. The 34-year-old Dahm has an extensive international resume that dates back to 2004 when he played his first of two successive U18 tournaments. He played one game at the 2009 World Championship and has been a member of the national team at the Worlds every year since 2013. Since 2015 the team has won 17 games in World Championship play, and Dahm has been in goal for 13 of that number. He’ll be backed up by veteran Patrick Galbraith and 20-year-old Frederik Dichow, who was the third goalie at last year’s World Championship in Riga.
Coach Heinz Ehlers is back behind the bench. He has been the bench boss since 2019, and he brings with him to China eight defenders, seven of whom played in Riga last year. Key among the blueliners will be Oliver Lauridsen and his brother, Marcus, both of whom have been with the team every year since 2013. They will be joined by veterans Jesper B. Jensen, Nicholas Jensen, and Emil Kristensen. The youngest player is Phillip Bruggisser. The 23-year-old played at the Worlds after going to the qualification but not seeing any ice time.
Up front the team will be led by Peter Regin. He captained the team in 2018, 2019, and at the qualification, and played his first World Championship back in 2005. This is his first chance at the Olympics because of qualification, and it might be the 35-year-old’s last chance because of age. But if the team is to do some damage in Beijing, it will need a top performance from 28-year-old Nicklas Jensen. He led the team in scoring at last year’s Worlds with five goals and eight points, giving the Danes some offence, which is their most common Achilles heel. He is also the only Dane on this roster who plays in the Finnish league.
Mikkel Boedker is another talented forward who can be creative in the offensive end. He is currently playing in Switzerland with Lugano, and has played at the U18 and U20. He was also on Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup and has played in seven World Championships over the years. Frans Nielsen, who has eight Worlds to his credit and was a teammate of Boedker on the World Cup team, didn’t play in 2019 or 2021 but was part of the Olympic qualifier, and he’ll be in Beijing as well. Morten Poulsen is another veteran who will bring leadership and experience to the team, as will Morten Madsen, who has played an incredible 15 consecutive World Championships. To say his Olympic debut will be a career highlight is an understatement.
Nick Olesen is one of the younger players but one to watch for added speed and energy. He is one of five players on this roster whose domestic league is in Sweden. But what coach Ehlers will be lacking at these first Olympics are two players who were vital to the win in the qualifying stage – Nikolaj Ehlers, who led the tournament with five goals and nine points, and Markus Lauridsen, who led all skaters with seven assists. Their offence will be much missed, and the team as a group will have to find a way to make up for these goals and allow fewer. The Danes will be in a tough Group B alongside Czechia, Switzerland, and ROC.
It will be Denmark’s first Olympic Games in ice hockey – a first with both the men’s and women’s national teams – and probably not their last, but they hope with a balanced attack and some solid goaltending they might pull off a surprise or two along the way.
Sebastian Dahm, Klagenfurter AC (AUT)
Frederik Dichow, Kristianstads IK
Patrick Galbraith, SonderjyskE Vojens
Phillip Bruggisser, Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (GER)
Jesper Jensen Aabo, Krefeld Penguine (GER)
Nicholas B. Jensen, Eisbaren Berlin (GER)
Emil Kristensen, Pustertal Bruneck (ITA)
Oliver Larsen, Jukurit Mikkeli (FIN)
Matias Lassen, Malmo Redhawks (SWE)
Markus Lauridsen, Malmo Redhawks (SWE)
Oliver Lauridsen, Malmo Redhawks (SWE)
Matthias Asperup, Herlev Eagles
Mathias Bau Hansen, Herning Blue Fox
Mikkel Boedker, HC Lugano (SUI)
Julian Jakobsen, Aalborg Pirates
Jesper Jensen, Frederikshavn White Hawks
Nicklas Jensen, Jokerit Helsinki (FIN)
Morten Madsen, Timra IK (SWE)
Nicolai Meyer, Vienna Capitals (AUT)
Frans Nielsen, Eisbaren Berlin (GER)
Nick Olesen, Brynas Gavle (SWE)
Morten Poulsen, Herning Blue Fox
Peter Regin, HC Ambri-Piotta (SUI)
Patrick Russell, Linkoping HC (SWE)
Frederik Storm, ERC Ingolstadt (GER)