Lasse Bjorn

Lars Bjorn was a hulking Swedish defenseman in the 1950s and 1960s. He was nicknamed "Lasse," Swedish for "menace," because he was never afraid to impose his physicality upon his opponent. He was fearless of any opponent, including the aggressive Canadians

Bjorn and defensive partner Roland Stotlz dominated the Swedish Elite League with Djurgarden for the better part of both decades, leading the team to 9 Swedish championships. The duo also formed the foundation of the national team 217 games from 1952 through 1961, winning world championship titles in 1953 and 1957. Additionally, Bjorn was acknowledged as the best defenseman at the 1954 worlds.

But for all his hard work to be known as a gladiator on the ice, he undid it all in a charming display at the 1957 world championships.

Bjorn had just captained the Swedes (the regular captain was unable to play on this night) to an upset victory over the host Russians in front of a record outdoor crowd of 55,000 people. For the gold medal ceremony Bjorn was surprised to be asked to lead the Swedish contingent in singing their national anthem. Under pressure, Bjorn blanked on the words so he began singing the popular Swedish drinking song "Heland Ger," Let's Drink It All!

Bjorn is better known nowadays as NHL defenseman Douglas Murray's grandfather.


Three crowns said...

I think you've got it wrong here. "Lasse" is a common nick name for swedes named Lars, like Larry for Laurence or Jeff for Geoffrey. It has nothing to do with menace.

Jerry said...

The swedish drinking song is called "Helan går" and is Swedens second national anthem.

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