The comparison of national leagues is a popular topic on these boards.
Yesterday, Aftonposten, a leading Norwegian newspaper, published an article about how Swedish coaches assess the Norwegian league.
Their general view is that Get-ligaen is quite strong, competitive and underestimated internationally.
Frisk-Asker's coach, Sune Bergman who have coached in the Swedish leagues for 40 years (he should know something about this) says that Get-Ligaen is as good as the Swedish Allsvenskan (tier two). Only Leksand and Malmö Redhawks are definitively better and offer better facilities than the Norwegian teams. He also points to Comet's clear 7-3 victory over Bofors, a middle-ranking Allsvenskan team.
Bergman also think that Get-Ligaen is a better development league than the Swedish junior leagues. Rather than going to the Swedish junior leagues or signing too early with an Elitserien club, the Norwegian players should wait until they are fully developed - a view that bear strong reminscences from the Europe-NHL debate.
"We need to get the Norwegian players back to the Norwegian league", Bergman says. "It is great that Steffen Thoresen has returned to Vålerenga. Thoresen had a brief and unsuccesful encouter with Växjö Lakers. But its better for Steffen and Norwegian hockey that he returned so quickly". Steffen Thoresen should wait until he is good enough to get plenty of ice time in Elitserien. This also goes for Mats Z. Aasen, one of Norway's biggest talents. Several Elitserien clubs have attempted to buy him out of his contract with Frisk Asker this season, most lately Färjestad which made an attempt last week.
But Bergman calls this for 'bad scouting'. Mats Aasen is yet not good enough to become a top-two center and play such an important role as his playing style demands. Bergman predicts that Aasen will eventually become a top player in Elitserien, but he has to be patient.
Bergman's views are supported by Håkan Södergren, another Swede that have plenty of coaching experience from Sweden and Norway. Today, Södergren is connected with Djurgården. Södergren says that going to the Swedish junior leagues or Allsvenskan is a detour for Norwegian players. Their development is best served in Get-ligaen. Among others, Södergren points to Patrick Bovim as an example. Playing at HV71's junior team, Bovim was just one in the crowd. In Get-Ligaen, he could have played a leading role.
A third Swede to speak out is Janne Asplund, a former Tre Kronor player who is currently managing the hockey college in Bærum (NTG Bærum). Asplund believes that the Norwegian hockey collleges are better than the Swedish.
"Here [in Norway] hockey has top priority, everything else at the college is adjusted to this. In Sweden, the opposite holds true. There are more hockey colleges in Sweden (23 regional and many local), but noone compares with the Norwegian hockey colleges. Among other things, we travel abroad for six weeks every year to get international experience. Each year we travel to USA for a couple of weeks to play against US college teams, and all in all we play around 20-25 international games each year. This is unique, also by Swedish standards".
Interesting views and defintively food for sort.