The Swedish Ethos

Kristian Urstad
April 12 2010 11:02AM

Vancouver Canucks v Phoenix Coyotes

I went to school in Scandinavia for seven years. I learned a little bit about the psyche of this social democratic culture. They are taught from early on not to talk too much about themselves – it is rude to do so. Salary is rarely mentioned. In fact, there is a general leveling of wage diferential – the bottom is pulled up and the top, pulled down. For the most part, they see themselves as belonging to a collective, and take a dim view of the (often) bullying, individualist ethos which dominates our culture.

Even in a sport dominated by absurd salaries and (apparent) individual accomplishment, I can’t help but to see this Scandinavian ethos reflected in the Sedins. They play the game in an understated sort of way. They never complain and see themselves as part of a larger whole. They avoid talking too much about their accomplishments, preferring instead to give credit to those around them and to other players in the league. They have taken less money to stay in this city and on this team. They have given to charity one of the largest chunks of money seen in a long time around this league.

If we don't have the opportunity to learn from some of these Nordic countries, we needn't worry - we can simply take some time to appreciate what the Sedins bring to this game and to this organization, night in and night out. 


Kristian Urstad was born, raised, and currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Kristian has been a disappointed yet loyal Canucks fan his whole life. He has a hunch however that their time may soon come. He has a PhD in Philosophy and so tries to take a philosophical approach to writing about hockey and the Canucks, hopeful, but not always sure, that he can offer some new and interesting insights into the various aspects of this great game and burgeoning team. You can reach Kristian at
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