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Sabers and Swedes strengthen friendship with Hockey

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The Spangdahlem Sabers shakes hands with Stalstadens after the hockey game in Lulea, Sweden, Nov. 4, 2018. The Sabers joined with their Swedish Air Force counterparts during Exercise Trident Juncture 18 and played a friendly hockey game against the local division-II team. The exercise takes place in Norway and the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, including Iceland and the airspace of Finland and Sweden. With more than 50,000 participants, this is the largest NATO exercise since 2002. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

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U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy Hill, a Spangdahlem Sabers forward, celebrates after scoring a goal during a hockey game against the local division-II team the Stalstadens in Lulea, Sweden, Nov. 4, 2018. The Stalstadens won 8-5 after defending against several breakaways from the Sabers during a friendly competition game during Exercise Trident Juncture 18. The exercise takes place in Norway and the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, including Iceland and the airspace of Finland and Sweden. With more than 50,000 participants, this is the largest NATO exercise since 2002. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

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U.S. Air Force Capt. Brian Herring,a Spangdahlem Sabers forward, shoots at the goal during a hockey game against the Stalstadens in Lulea, Sweden, Nov. 4, 2018. The Sabers joined with their Swedish Air Force counterparts during Exercise Trident Juncture 18 and played a friendly hockey game against the local division-II team. The exercise takes place in Norway and the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, including Iceland and the airspace of Finland and Sweden. With more than 50,000 participants, this is the largest NATO exercise since 2002. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

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U.S. Air Force Capt. Bryan Johnston, a Spangdahlem Sabers forward, scores a goal during a hockey game against the Stalstadens in Lulea, Sweden, Nov. 4, 2018. The Sabers joined with their Swedish Air Force counterparts during Exercise Trident Juncture 18 and played a friendly hockey game against the local division-II team. The exercise takes place in Norway and the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, including Iceland and the airspace of Finland and Sweden. With more than 50,000 participants, this is the largest NATO exercise since 2002. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

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U.S. Air Force Capt. Chris Fjelstad, a Spangdahlem Sabers goalie, blocks the puck during a hockey game against the Stalstadens in Lulea, Sweden, Nov. 4, 2018. The Sabers joined with their Swedish Air Force counterparts during Exercise Trident Juncture 18 and played a friendly hockey game against the local division-II team. The exercise takes place in Norway and the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, including Iceland and the airspace of Finland and Sweden. With more than 50,000 participants, this is the largest NATO exercise since 2002. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder)

KALLAX AIR BASE, Sweden --

There are 10 Airmen who are part of the Spangdahlem Sabers hockey team that are currently deployed to Kallax Air Base, Sweden, in support of Exercise Trident Juncture 18.

“Trident Juncture has given us the opportunity to know our Swedish Air Force counterparts not only on the flight line but also on the ice,” said Tech Sgt. Samuel Russell, a 52nd Maintenance Squadron nondestructive inspection shift supervisor.

In an effort to build good relations, Master Sgt. Jeremy Hill, the 480th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron unit deployment manager, reached out to the local Swedish hockey team at Lulea, Sweden, to setup a friendly exhibition game.

“We try in the military to have interoperability with other countries and this is another way to get out in the community and build those relations on another level,” said Hill. 

The Sabers faced off against the Stalstadens, a division-II team on Oct. 4, 2018, at the Coop Norrbotten Arena. 

Having only 10 Saber players available, the Swedish Air Force F21 United Hockey team helped out by loaning five members to join the Sabers in the game.

“It’s been a great experience, coming out here working with them and seeing how well they play hockey,” said Russell.

The Stalstadens won 8-5 after defending against several breakaways from the Sabers.