Frölunda Hockey Club, also known as the Frölunda Indians, are a Swedish professional ice hockey club based in Gothenburg. They are currently playing in the highest Swedish league, Elitserien, where they have played the majority of the seasons during its existence. The last time they played in the lower division, Allsvenskan, was in 1995. Frölunda have won the national championship title three times, in 1965, 2003, and 2005.
The club was originally founded on February 3, 1938, as an ice hockey section in Västra Frölunda IF and became independent on March 29, 1984. On June 16, 2004, the club shortened the name from Västra Frölunda Hockey Club to Frölunda Hockey Club.
In 1944 Frölunda registered a team for league competition. Due to the mild weather it would take 2 years before the premier. On January 25, 1946, Västra Frölunda IF played their first ice hockey game against local rival Fellows at Krokslätts ice rink. A small notice in Göteborgs-Posten attracted 160 people to watch the game that ended in a 1–8 loss. The team fielded for the game included one goalie, two defensemen and six forwards. Only one of the nine players, Gunnar Gerdne, had played hockey earlier, the other players came from the associations bandy section. Despite the big loss, the newspapers proclaim it as a good debut.Another two games were played in their first season, a 2–1 win over Chalmers and a 10–1 loss against Udden. Frölunda finished third in the Group B of the Gothenburg series.
On January 22, 1947, in the season premier against Hisingen Frölunda had three players ill, and were only able to dress six players for the game. At the end of the first period Frölunda players Björn Andersson got injured with a broken nose. With one player out Frölunda had to play the rest of the game one man down. They were able to keep the game tied to the final period before Hisingen got the lead, the game ended in a 4–7 loss. After a 4–4 tie against Göteborgs SK and a 13–1 win over Chalmers, Frölunda finished second in the standings which was one position higher then the last year.
After the 1982/83 season the hockey section presented a budget deficit of 675,000 SEK. At this point, the tension between the hockey section and the clubs management was high. Everyone with insight in the organisation knew that it was just a matter of time before the two parties would separate.
The only thing preventing an immediate separation between the two blocks, was the sentimental issue of Bittan Johansson. Bittan, a legend within the organisation, was at the time of the conflict deadly ill and only had months left to live. On September 9, 1983, only two months after his 65th birthday, Bittan Johansson died. Now when there were no more ties to VFIF, club president Rune Kristiansson didn't see any reasons why the hockey section should be a part of VFIF.
On March 29, 1984, VFIF held their annual meeting, where the hockey section would participate for the last time. With a strike of a gavel, Rune Kristiansson ended the hockey section in VFIF. Kristiansson handed over the podium to Rolf Kling, who had been the last president of the hockey section. Kling cheerfully and ironically asked "So, is there anyone who wants to start a hockey club?"
In the 2004-05 season, the club's 60th anniversary and 20th as independent club, the team won the league title, by having the best record during the regular season, and the Swedish Championship. That particular year was notable because the National Hockey League had a labour stoppage due to labour negotiations between the league and the players. Many professional hockey players who could not play in the NHL chose to play in European or North American leagues. The largest number of professional NHL players were in Sweden for the season. This increased the quality of play dramatically and many observers said that the Elitserien was the best league in the world during 2004-05.
Frölunda set a new Elitserien record on April 6, 2006, by winning the Elitserien playoff semi finals against Linköpings HC 4-3 after trailing the series 1-3. The season ended with a 2-4 defeat against Färjestads BK in the finals. The second game in the finals Ronnie Sundin played his 685th game for Frölunda becoming the player with most career games for the club.
On October 2, 2008, the Indians played an exhibition game against the Ottawa Senators while the Senators were getting ready to begin the season in Stockholm against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Indians lost by a score of 4-1, with Oscar Hedman scoring their only goal. Former Indian Daniel Alfredsson, who was honoured several days earlier as one of the team's all-time favourite players with a podium in the Scandinavium decorated in his honour, scored the second goal for the Senators. Chris Kelly, Alexandre Picard, and Jason Spezza score the Senators' other three goals in the match.
|Season||League||Regular Season||Post Season Results|
|2003–04||Elitserien||3rd||50||24||16||10||160||116||89|| Won in Quarterfinals, 4-0 (Djurgården) |
Lost in Semifinals, 2-4 (HV71)
|2004–05||Elitserien||1st||50||33||8||9||180||96||112|| Won in Quarterfinals, 4-0 (Luleå) |
Won in Semifinals, 4-1 (Djurgården)
Won Swedish Championship, 4-1 (Färjestad)
|2005–06||Elitserien||2nd||50||28||14||8||169||130||96|| Won in Quarterfinals, 4-0 (Brynäs) |
Won in Semifinals, 4-3 (Linköping)
Lost in Finals, 2-4 (Färjestad)
|2007–08||Elitserien||6th||55||23||22||10||159||157||82||Lost in Quarterfinals, 3-4 (Färjestad)|
Two Frölunda players have been inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation's Hall of Fame. Forward Ulf Sterner, played three seasons for Frölunda before becoming the first European-trained player to play in the NHL during his short sojourn with the New York Rangers during the 1964–65 NHL season; he was inducted in 2001. Forward Ronald "Sura Pelle" Pettersson, represented team Sweden in three olympic games and ten IIHF World Championships, totaling 252 games played for the national team; he was inducted in 2004. In 2003, former Frölunda players Christian Ruuttu and Jorma Salmi were inducted to the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame.