Elverum wins at men’s handball—again
Seven times victorious
Jo Christian Weldingh
Elverum are Norwegian champions once again, after beating ØIF Arendal 35-24 on May 22. After one win each, in the first two final games, Elverum was the superior team by far in the third and deciding final game.
Elverum did not get off to a good start when star goalkeeper Morten Nergaard was injured in the middle of the first half. They were forced to use their third-string goalie, Emil Kheri Imsgard. The 20-year-old Imsgard rose to the occasion, however, and was one of Elverum’s best players in the first half.
Imsgard continued his world-class performance in the second half, and when the rest of the Elverum players delivered an equally good offensive game, there was little to be done with the team from Hedmark. “It’s insane,” Imsgard told the press. “It feels very, very good!”
“It’s a dream,” he continued. “I have been thinking about this since I was a little kid, and finally I’m experiencing it. It’s beautiful.”
He felt ready when Nergaard was injured. “I just had to do what I usually do. I have played more this season than before, so I felt I had already proved that I was able to perform at this level. When I got the opportunity, I had to take it. It’s the most fun I have ever had.”
ØIF Arendal’s Eirik Pedersen feels that they didn’t exploit Nergaard’s injury as much as they could have. “The way we shot today makes a 20-year-old kid look like a world-class keeper. It’s just not good enough,” he said. “He’s a talented guy, sure, but we should have taken more advantage of Nergaard’s injury.”
Andre Lindboe, Elverum’s top scorer, has been on the club since 2009 and is extremely happy about winning another title. “We have been in this situation many times before and we never tire of it. It’s incredibly fun to win titles, and, of course, to secure our participation in next year’s Champions League.”
Lindboe had eight goals, Kevin Gulliksen six, Tine Poklar and Magnus Fredriksen five in the last game.
Elverum’s streak of seven playoff titles, and subsequent participation in Champions League, is unique in Norwegian men’s handball and has done wonders for the club. “When I came here in 2009, we were almost bankrupt,” Lindboe says, “but the guys in charge have done an amazing job and as far as I know, the club’s economy is thriving.”
Jo Christian Weldingh grew up in Lillehammer, Norway, and lives in Oslo. He has a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the University of Oslo and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from BI Norwegian Business School.
This article originally appeared in the June 15, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.