Roger Rönnberg’s sudden tribute to his rival’s star – the unexpected words after the move in the stands: “He looked damn good…”

He cannot join and help Skellefteå on the ice.
Then Jonathan Pudas made a bet in the stands instead.
Afterwards, even Roger Rönnberg was impressed.

Jonathan Pudas is one of the SHL’s best defenders, and just a year ago he was awarded the Salming Trophy, the award for the year’s best Swedish-born defender in the league. It was therefore a leaden message that he, and Skellefteå, was reached by just over a month ago.

Decided in extra time

It was clear then that Pudas would miss large portions of the playoffs, and he still hasn’t returned from his upper-body fracture. The last game Pudas scored was on March 7, but even so, the star finds ways to help his team. Yesterday, in the second semi-final match against Frölunda, he stepped forward when it was needed most.

240408 Skellefteå’s Jonathan Pudas in the stands during semifinal two in the SHL between Skellefteå and Frölunda on April 8, 2024 in Skellefteå. Photo: Ola Westerberg / BILDBYRÅN

Skellefteå had lost a 2-0 lead to 2-2 in the third period, when suddenly there was a big cheer in the arena. It was Pudas who had made it all the way up as heel leader, and once there he grabbed a megaphone and started a chant that the entire home crowd sang along to. Perhaps it was the energy that Skellefteå needed, because in the extension Oscar Lindberg stepped forward and decided, and gave Skellefteå their second straight victory in the series.

Rönnberg’s tribute

Afterwards, Pudas was greatly praised by both teammates and coaches for his move in the stands. Roger Rönnberg was also impressed, despite the bitter overtime loss.

– I thought Pudas looked really fresh in the stands, he says afterwards.

240324 Frölunda’s coach Roger Rönnberg during quarter-final two in the SHL between Frölunda and Leksand on March 24, 2024 in Gothenburg. Photo: Michael Erichsen / BILDBYRÅN

Afterwards, Oscar Lindberg said that Puda’s actions in the stands reached the team, and that it really gave energy for the extra time in the second match of the semi-final series. Now Skellefteå has 2-0 in matches when the series turns to Gothenburg.

– I saw it on the TV inside. It’s cruel, you immediately noticed that there was a hell of a lot of pressure when you got to the overtime period, says Lindberg.

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