Known by their previous abbreviation MIF or simply as Malmö now, the Malmö RedHawks are a professional Swedish ice hockey club from Malmö, Sweden. Currently, they are playing in the premier hockey league of Sweden, the SHL. Their home games are played at Malmö Arena.
The History Of Malmö RedHawks
When the Malmö FF, that was founded in 28th of February, in 1972, became an independent club, the Malmö RedHawks were known as the Malmö Ishockeyförening (MIF – Malmö Ice Hockey). Contrary to what most fans are hoping for or believe, the early history of this club is not that interesting, as the team spent most of their time in the lower divisions of the Swedish hockey.
In 1984, the relegations to Division 2 became the ‘push’ to a series of events, that also included the leaving of the club’s chairman from the very beginning, Nils Yngvesson, in 1972. The Malmö Ice Hockey team was promoted to Division 1, after playing only one season in Division 2; where the club made something that is known as “the biggest investment for the sports history of Sweden.”
However, the club’s campaign to help them reach the top league was not a success that season, but in 1989 – 1990 season, the MIF club was able to finish first in their spring Allsvenskan, and in autumn Division 1 group. After that, they also won the Allsvenskan final with 3 – 0 games securing the promotion to Elltserien, which today is known as SHL, for the first time.
For 15 seasons they were able to remain the top flight, a period that brought two name changes, in 1996 to MIF RedHawks and a lot later, in 2003, they changed the name again to IF Malmö RedHawks. In 1992 and 1994 they were able to get the two Swedish Championship titles, and the European Championship in 1993.
Important Game Dates
At the end of 2004 and the start of 2005, the Malmö RedHawks lost in the qualification series for Elitserien and were relegated. Because of that, in 2005 – 2006, they played in Sweden’s second division hockey league, the HockeyAllsvenskan. They were able to win the qualification round and played the next year with some success, but they ended up last. However, in April, of the same year, they were able to finish third in the Kvalserien 2008-2009, and the Malmö were downgraded to the Allsvenskan league.
In 2007, the team participated in the qualification series, and they finished last in the 2007-2008 Elitserien season. However, Malmö RedHawks were considered the favorites among fans alongside the second team Skellefteå AIK, from Elitserien, but they failed to re-qualify for Elitserien.
The following year, during the 2008-2009 season, the Malmö RedHawks moved to the new arena, the Malmö Arena, which is an entertainment top-modern sports venue. They originally wanted to be back to the Elitserien before the premiere.
While playing in HockeyAllsvenskan, on 29 January 2009, they experienced financial debt and thus had to release all the contracted players, to avoid bankruptcy. Those players were able to find and sign with new clubs, and by then, the Malmö team had only one month of games remaining to play and were ranked 10th in the league, instead of being in the top three or seven, which is what is required for Kvalserien qualifications. Since the Malmö RedHawks team finished in 8th place, they missed the playoffs.
However, the Malmö RedHawks finished 5th in the 2009-2010 season for HockeyAllsvenskan, so they were able to reach the playoffs, which was a big improvement compared to the last season. The playoffs started by them knocking out Bofors IK in two games straight, and the Malmö team was set to go against Almtuna IS for the series which decided the team that would be HockeyAllsvenskan’s 4th in Kvalserien. However, they lost and thus were eliminated from the playoffs.
In 2010-2011, things got worse, as the team failed to reach the playoffs yet again, finishing 8th. During this season, on the 28th of January, the Malmö Redhawks announced that they have agreed to the 3-year $10.6 million deal with Hugo Stenbeck, a businessman, with the goal, to get back to Elitserien.
The season started well, but after falling to the 6th place, the Malmö RedHawks coach Leif Strömberg was fired and replaced by the team’s assistant at that time, Ulf Taavola. After a bit of struggling, they were able to improve, and thus get to the 7th place in the league, which was enough for them to end up in the playoffs. They finished second in the playoffs.
Their 2012-2013 season had a bad start, as the Malmö RedHawks had only 21 points taken in 17 games, which was far from having a spot towards Kvalserien. However, the team eventually gained a massive boost and went through November without a single loss. Because of that, they were in 5th place in the league, but in January the following year, they had another losing streak, thus finishing in 9th place.
The Malmö RedHawks team played 18 consecutive seasons in SHL, Sweden’s top tier, from 1987 – 2005. They were able to have a brief comeback to the top in 2006 – 2007 season, and they also had a comeback to SHL in 2015 – 2016. However, the most successful era in the history of the Malmö RedHawks club was definitely during the ‘90s, when the team was able to win the two 1992 and 1994 Swedish Championships and the 1993 European Cup.