On Monday, the governing body that oversees bandy, a team sport played on ice, inducted two players into its Hall of Fame — Minneapolis native Chris Preiss and Swedish-American Jasper Felder.
USA Bandy’s Hall of Fame is located at the Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval, in Roseville.
And because many people don’t know about the sport, an explanation seems essential: Bandy is a cross between field and ice hockey, played with a ball instead of a puck.
Felder has excelled in the worlds of bandy, Red Bull Crashed Ice and, of all activities, hip-hop dancing. I warned him that my questions would be extra stupid, because I’d never heard of bandy, either.
Toward the end of this interview, Felder could tell I still wasn’t fully getting it. When I asked if he was in the “Crashed Ice Hall of Fame” — which I don’t believe exists — he said “No. With Crashed Ice, if you Google me I’m coming up like a — I don’t want to brag, but I’m the legend.”
Maybe it was his charming accent, but Felder said this without even a hint of braggadocio.
Q: You’ve excelled in interesting competitive arenas?
A: Yeah, in different sports, actually. I am seven-time world champion in Crashed Ice. I skated from the first race in 2000 in Stockholm all the way up to 2011, and I won the first six races in a row. Then I was injured. I came back and won another. I said to myself “OK, I’ve won it, now I want to help out on the tour with Team Sweden and even Red Bull.” Yeah, in-line hockey [another sport in which he is a world champion]. That one I played for Team Sweden, because I’ve got dual citizenship.
Q: How many bones did you break in Crashed Ice?
A: In 2010, in that race, I was really good. I was cruising down the course. I was a little bit out of focus at one corner and lost my edge. I got a concussion and broke my ribs. That’s the only time. That was my fault.
Q: Are the crowds distracting when you are whipping down a Crashed Ice course?
A: That’s a blast, I love it. I’m one of those guys who the more people come to check me out, I step it up. Some people get intimidated by the fans, but I want to put on a show. I love to perform.
Q: What age did you start skating?
A: When I was 3. I have a picture of me and my sister. I lived about 500 meters from the ice, and my mom skated when she was little. I love skating.
Q: What do you like about bandy?
A: You play like on a soccer field and you play 11 guys out and a goalie and play [two 45-minute halves]. It’s a lot of skating. That’s why I love it. I’ve played hockey and bandy at the same time back in Sweden.
Q: Do guys who play hockey look down on guys who play bandy?
A: Not really. Not in Sweden. We are faster and stronger skaters. Hockey guys are probably quicker the first couple of meters, but when it comes to skating fast on big sheets, we are so much faster.
Q: Is there a gap between bandy’s popularity and participation?
A: That’s a problem right now. The teams that are really good are like Sweden, Russia, Finland, Kazakhstan, Norway, Belarus. It’s growing. This year, Great Britain is going to have a team.
Q: Do I understand you are a professional hip-hop dancer?
A: Yeah. It’s not like they officially gave me a medal. Me and my friend Daniel Grundén had a crew back in the ’90s, and we danced [in the background] with all the R&B and rap artists in Sweden. … You know that Swedish girl Robyn? She’s been on all those shows like the Dave Letterman show. When she was younger we used to dance with her.
Q: There cannot be a lot of Swedish hip-hop dancers, right?
A: There are a bunch. Oh yeah. Hip-hop is super big in Sweden. We have a lot of rappers and producers.
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.