Bus driver Anders Lundberg became Swedish ice hockey’s new boss
Friends. The middle of the 00s.
Anders Lundberg is in his 20s, he has just finished playing ice hockey in Vännäs HC – “I was too bad anyway, had never become more than a Division 1 player” – and drive the family business’s bus in the village, which is three kilometers from Umeå.
– I usually say that I have diesel in my blood, says Anders and laughs.
– My grandfather started the company and then my parents took over and ran it further. They have never worked 7-4 as far as I can remember. The phone has been on around the clock, it feels like. I think it has influenced me a lot.
Work hard and a lot is in Anders Lundberg’s blood.
For half of his adult life, he has held double jobs or studied full-time and combined it with extra work.
Between 2005 and 2009, he drove a bus for Sjöström’s buses, the family’s business, at the same time as he worked up his high school grades and spent all other evenings and weekends coaching ice hockey.
– After I stopped playing, I went with the coach I had in Vännäs to Björklöven. I became an assistant coach to the J20 team the year the club moved up to the J20 SuperElit. It was the 86/87 litter with Daniel Rahimi, Alexander Hellström and Alexander Sundström. One of Björklöven’s best ever. We did well that year and lost in the semi-finals against Linköping, who won the SM gold.
All leaders who have reached a high level have done it there
In Björklöven something was awakened within him. He began to fantasize about a life far away from the bus seat.
– Something happened there. I got a bloody tooth.
Despite the fact that he was not paid a penny by “Löven”.
– I only had mileage compensation from Björklöven. That is all. Nothing paid. And I am happy about that today. All leaders who have reached a high level have done it there. People have gone through the dog years and there is too little talk about it. The work behind. Look at Sam (Hallam), he’s had a hell of a ride where he didn’t make a lot of money at first. I think you have to be prepared to sacrifice a lot to reach a certain level.
Actually, it was never the idea that Anders would return to Västerbotten to drive a bus and work as a junior coach.
After high school, he moved to Boden to do military service and the plan was to continue in the military.
– I have a philosophy to hate chance, but sometimes chance can actually be good. I applied to the Military Academy after 15 months in the rag, but that very year they discontinued the education. They simply paused it. A year later I had found other things to do.
By this time he was back in Västerbotten and started taking courses in psychology at Umeå University.
– The time there made me really understand that I can influence what I should do. There began some investment. “I’m going to be the national team captain one day”that was my mindset.
It was the busiest time of my life
That realization led to a major life change at the end of the 00s.
Anders moved from the bus job and security in Vännäs to Stockholm to study for three years at GIH, the gymnastics and sports college, and at the same time dreamed of becoming a coach at the highest level.
That’s why he grabbed every job opportunity that came his way.
While studying full-time, he chose to work three jobs in Haninge. During one season he was active in the club’s J18, J20 and A teams.
– It was the busiest time of my life, when I look back on it.
The heavy workload would have consequences much later, almost two years afterwards. When Anders worked for the ice hockey association.
Just in time for his graduation in the fall of 2012, the association was looking for a new hockey consultant, who is responsible for and helps the associations with training players and leaders.
Anders applied for the job and was lucky.
– I took office in May and in mid-June, early July, I learned that a hockey consultant was leaving due to the economy. It wasn’t hard to figure out who would get to leave, I was brand new, but I was lucky enough that in that crank two other people quit. So, the association stitched together a combined service where I started to have responsibility over the training courses.
He barely had time to start before he was forced to take a break of over a year.
– I walked into the wall. This was about six months after I had started at the association. I passed out in the gym with a barbell overhead. Luckily it went well, but it was nasty. I think my body, after several years of studies, side jobs and assignments at the same time, somehow caught up. When I “only” had a normal job, it was narrow. I was on sick leave from the beginning of 2014 to the fall of 2015.
Anders describes that time as hell.
– When I was at my worst, I slept 18 hours a day. I couldn’t go into Ica, because then I got anxiety. Among the sickest things I experienced was when one day I had promised my wife that I would vacuum the house. I pick up the vacuum cleaner and just stand and look at it: “What am I doing now?”. It sounds crazy today, but I had no idea how to vacuum. I called my wife, “how do I vacuum?”, and then she had to explain to me. It didn’t connect. My memory was not there. During that period, I could have conversations with my wife that I instantly forgot about.
The burnout caused him to finally take a step back. It took 14 months before he could start working again – and then far from full-time.
– Henrik Haraldsson, who was then head of development, was absolutely fantastic. He stood up and I got all the support I needed. I never felt any pressure to come back right away. I went to both group therapy and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) in my rehab. It was something I sought myself, but the association was always involved in that. They showed tremendous support.
How are you today?
– Good! Thanks for asking. I can still have problems with vertigo sometimes and it’s linked to my burnout, but it’s fine today. I have been very careful about finding my recovery periods.
She said it directly to me, “then what are you thinking about?”
Once back at the association, Lundberg’s climb towards the position he holds today as national team manager for the Three Crowns, the Women’s Crowns and the Junior Crowns began.
In total, he has held five different positions at the association.
During a four-year period, he oversaw the coaching training, he has coached several of the youth national teams and until 2022 he was responsible for player development.
But when Olof Östblom quit as competition director one day, the association’s general secretary Johan Stark got in touch. They wanted to reorganize and create a new position at the union.
– I remember so well when I was asked to become national team manager. I went home to my wife and told her about it, but I explained all the negative aspects of the job. It would mean more travel and I would be away a lot. Then she looked at me and said “Are you saying you’re going to be the manager of your dream job?”. That was her perspective on it. I didn’t think that thought, but I realized “Yes you’re right about that”. And she told me right away, “Then what are you thinking about?”.
So, the following day, Anders Lundberg accepted one of Swedish ice hockey’s most prestigious jobs.
– I would be lying if I didn’t say that this is my dream job. It was huge for me to start working as a hockey consultant once upon a time, I was proud as a rooster when I got that job. And I am just as proud every day that I get to be national team manager.
So Sam (Hallam) doesn’t have to suit up?
– Ha-ha, absolutely not. Sam can be calm. I’m not after his job.
#Bus #driver #Anders #Lundberg #Swedish #ice #hockeys #boss