The 2013 IIHF World Championship semifinals take place Saturday in Stockholm. While the tournament is barely of passing interest to fans in the U.S. and Canada, it's a pretty big deal in hockey countries across Europe. There's a lot of national pride on the line and that will be no more evident than in Saturday's semifinal between Sweden and Finland.
If you're up on your geography, you'd know Sweden and Finland are right next to each other. If you've ever seen a hockey game between the two countries, you'll understand the level of disdain they have for each other on the ice.
The national pride occasionally spills over into the press, which is more than happy to play the role of instigator. That is exactly what Finnish media outlet Ilta-Sanomat appears to be doing by creating paper dolls of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, complete with Sweden-themed dresses and high heels. Just for good measure, the outlet also nicknamed them Ding Dang, which seems to loosely translate to Ding Dong.
The Sedins recently joined Team Sweden after the Vancouver Canucks were ousted from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are obviously the national team's most famous players now. The Sedins have often been criticized by opposing players and fan bases for diving and complaining to officials and the press. The more misogynistic among hockey fans have taken to calling them the “Sedin Sisters.”
Apparently that act has taken hold overseas as well, unfortunately.
Sure, Ilta-Sanomat is just trying to stir the pot ahead of the big game in Stockholm and fire up its readers, but it's in poor taste. There's obviously a bit of a cultural difference and a relative lack of political correctness, but it's not hard to figure out why stuff like this is insulting to women.
International rivalries sure get feisty, but this seems a little childish.