Other International Stars
Tumba Johansson
Sweden
By Patrick Houda

One of the greatest legends of European hockey was center Sven "Tumba" Johansson. He was mostly known just as "Tumba". He got the nickname from his birthplace in Tumba, in the suburbs of Stockholm,Sweden where he was born on August 27,1931.

Tumba was a big fellow at a solid 6'3" and 208 Ibs. He was in some ways a Gordie Howe type of player, very hard to stop and impossible to separate from the puck. He was however far from complete as Howe. Tumba's strength was his hard and accurate shot that always seemed to be on target. With his combination of physical strength and good hands he was a scoring threat whenever he had the puck.

His weakness was that he didn't pass the puck as much as he should have. He didn't use his teammates very often which in one way made him a little bit of a one dimensional player. But why should he pass when he scored ? He was very well liked by his teammates because of his easy going attitude off the ice.

Tumba wasn't just a great hockey player, but he excelled in soccer and golf as well, where he  represented Sweden in both sports. (Soccer 1956 and Golf later on). He played his entire career in Djurgården IF, a Stockholm club between 1948-66. He won the Swedish league title 8 times, six of them in a row between 1958-63. Tumba also won the league scoring title on several occasions.

Tumba represented Sweden 245 times and scored 223 goals, more than anybody else in the history of the Swedish national team. He was also a
long time captain. He played in 14 World Championships, more than any other Swedish player, as well as four Olympic tournaments. He was a three time (1953,57 and 62) World Champion. Tumba was selected as the best forward in the 1957 and 62 World Championships. His 127 points (84+43) is the 5th best result in World Championship history. Only four Russians are ahead of him (Mikhailov, Kharlamov, Maltsev and Petrov). His 84 goals ranks second only behind Mikhailov.

Tumba became the first European trained player to attend an NHL camp when he went to Boston Bruins training camp in 1957. He was offered a contract with the minor league team Quebec Aces. He played five games for the Aces and collected four assists.

Tumba however didn't sign a professional contract, because back then it would have meant that he would have lost his amateur status. Since he wanted to represent Sweden further on the international stage he turned it down and returned to Sweden and Djurgården.

After his playing career was over he turned to golf and built golf courses and played successfully as well. His son became a golf pro.

The name "Tumba" in European hockey circles still brings a lot of respect among hockey fans.