Beartown

David, the coach of Beartown’s junior team, is 32, with unruly red hair. Hockey is all he’s ever cared about, and he is obsessive about it. Sune mentored him as a young coach, but David is now at odds with Sune in seemingly every aspect of coaching philosophy, and he also doesn’t get along with Peter, seeing both men as insufficiently progressive to keep up with the evolving sport. He has coached the boys on the junior team since they were seven years old, and they look up to him as a father; he is especially close to Kevin and Benji. David’s coaching philosophy could be summed up as simply “Win.” He doesn’t dedicate much time to developing elegant technique or giving sentimental pep talks. After Kevin assaults Maya, David tries to stay inside the “hockey bubble” and let law enforcement deal with Kevin, believing the sport should remain a self-contained refuge for the boys. He later resigns from the Beartown club and becomes the A-team coach in the neighboring city of Hed, taking Kevin and other elite players with him. David also has an unnamed girlfriend, who is expecting their first child.

David Quotes in Beartown

The Beartown quotes below are all either spoken by David or refer to David. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Beartown published in 2017.
Chapter 5 Quotes

Sooner or later any sports team has to decide what it really wants to achieve, and Beartown is no longer content merely to play. They’ll replace Sune with the coach of the junior team, for one simple reason; when Sune talks to his players before matches, he gives long speeches about them playing with their hearts. When the junior team coach stands in the locker room, he says just one word: “Win.” And the juniors win. They’ve done nothing else for ten years. It’s just that Sune is no longer sure that’s all a hockey team should consist of: boys who never lose.

Related Characters: David, Sune
Page Number: 26
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Chapter 11 Quotes

Sune was like Beartown: a firm adherent of the old faith that no tree should grow too tall, naively convinced that hard work was enough. That’s why the club has collapsed at the same rate that unemployment in the town has rocketed. Good workers aren’t enough on their own, someone needs to have big ideas as well. Collectives only work if they’re built around stars.

There are plenty of men in this club who think that everything in hockey “should be the way it’s always been.” Whenever he hears that, David feels like rolling himself up in a carpet and screaming until his vocal cords give out. As if hockey has ever been constant! When it was invented you weren’t even allowed to pass the puck forward, and two generations ago everyone played without a helmet. Hockey is like every other living organism: it has to adapt and evolve, or else it will die.

Related Characters: David, Sune
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 17 Quotes

The storm of laughter from all the juniors makes the room shake. In the end even David smiles, and he’ll think back to that moment many times afterward: whether a joke is always only a joke, whether that particular one went too far, whether there are different rules inside and outside a locker room, whether it’s acceptable to cross the line in order to defuse tension and get rid of nerves before a game, or if he should have stopped Lars and intervened by saying something to the guys. But he does nothing. Just lets them all laugh. He’ll think about that when he gets home and looks his girlfriend in the eye.

Related Characters: David, Bobo, Lars, David’s girlfriend
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:
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David Character Timeline in Beartown

The timeline below shows where the character David appears in Beartown. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
...he gives speeches about “playing with their hearts.” When the coach of the junior team, David, talks to his players before games, he simply says, “Win”—and that’s what the junior team... (full context)
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Sune also took notice of David, who, at 22, had been a struggling A-team player. Sune saw not a failed player,... (full context)
Chapter 6
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David, Beartown’s junior team coach, is frantically doing push-ups under his kitchen table. He’s just spent... (full context)
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David’s players don’t play elegant hockey. David focuses more on strategy and defense. More than anything,... (full context)
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David understands that just because Kevin Erdahl is the best player doesn’t mean he’s the most... (full context)
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As David brews his coffee for the day, he watches the video of Benji hitting a defender... (full context)
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...Benji has biked out of sight of his mom, he stops to smoke a joint. David often compliments Benji’s calf muscles and balance on the ice, but Benji knows this is... (full context)
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David finishes his push-ups and gets ready for work. But before he leaves the house, he... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...of the older bullies. Later, when they rejoined their teammates, they discovered that, even when David offered to stay behind by himself, the entire team had refused to leave until Kevin... (full context)
Chapter 8
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David arrives at the rink and goes into his office. He resumes studying videos of the... (full context)
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...watching the same clips over and over. Sune no longer sees hockey the same way David does; they come to the opposite conclusions about everything. They’re both too attached to their... (full context)
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Sune writes four words on a Post-It note and waits until he hears David step out of his office. He prays that what he’s about to do won’t ruin... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...the club president’s office, his stomach is in knots. The president forthrightly informs him that David is going to be appointed as coach of the A-team. Peter tells the president that... (full context)
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...the news to Sune after the juniors’ final game. If they lose the semifinal, then David won’t get the job, since nobody cares if the juniors merely put up a good... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...boys’ team, doesn’t have a leadership style—he just yells. Amat fears that Lars will replace David as coach of the youth team next year, and that he’ll never be free of... (full context)
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David believes that Sune’s view of hockey shows why Beartown has collapsed economically, too. Sune believes... (full context)
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Whenever David comes home from an argument with Sune, his girlfriend teases him, “fallen out with daddy... (full context)
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David argues with Lars outside the locker room. After Lars leaves, Amat and Zach approach, and... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...look for every chance to hurt him, and he hears them laughing behind his back. David decides that Amat and Bobo should do some one-on-one. He knows Amat is exhausted from... (full context)
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David sets up a narrow line of cones, within which a defenseman and a forward must... (full context)
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Bobo pursues Amat in “blind fury,” but Benji stops him. David decides to include Amat in tomorrow’s game. It takes Amat half an hour to stagger... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...know what Amat is doing on the team at the last minute before the semifinal. David finally hisses angrily, “Look at him! Are you seriously standing here saying that your son... (full context)
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David tells the team he’s not going to make a long speech—he only expects one thing... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...plows through a pile of players’ bodies and manages a goal, tying the game. Then David taps Amat, pulling Lyt off the ice. Though Lars protests, David tells Amat he just... (full context)
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As the crowd raucously celebrates, Kevin climbs over the boards and throws himself into David’s arms, telling him, “For you!” David “holds [Kevin] like he was his own son.” (full context)
Chapter 19
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...feels ashamed and fumbles for words to convey how proud he is; he doesn’t have David’s knack for making the players love him, and he envies that. Finally, he tells Amat... (full context)
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...as if they are “racehorses” or “products.” He escapes back into the hallway and congratulates David, but David bitterly tells him that it’s Peter’s night; after all, he’s always been the... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Benji tells Sune that just because the team loves David doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have been happy to play for Sune. Sune doesn’t tell Benji... (full context)
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David is sitting in the rink, thinking about an upcoming media interview. He knows he can... (full context)
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David remembers Sune talking to him about the team motto when David was a new coach.... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Lars wants to discipline Benji for ditching practice, but David says they can’t win the final without him. David picks up a puck, writes something... (full context)
Chapter 28
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Benji goes to visit his dad’s grave and finds the puck David left there. David started this tradition when the players were young boys, writing important advice... (full context)
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Benji remembers certain crude jokes that Lars told on the team bus, when David laughed along. One of them was a homophobic joke. Benji has never feared being targeted... (full context)
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The puck David has left for Benji only has one word written on it: “Win.” The next day,... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...police car rolls into the rink parking lot and stops in front of the bus. David arrives late, in a confused and happy mood—last night, his girlfriend told him that she’s... (full context)
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...watch someone else harm Kevin. That’s why he stands at a distance, watching the arrest. David notices he’s there. (full context)
Chapter 31
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...everyone at her legal practice. On the team bus, everyone’s still in an uproar. When David gets a text from Mr. Erdahl with the news of the charges against Kevin, he... (full context)
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David has always believed that hockey must stay separated from the outside world. He’s imposed that... (full context)
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Before David can make up his mind what to say to his players, Benji stands up in... (full context)
Chapter 32
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Tails is waiting for news from David about Kevin. Whoever it is who’s “snatched [the team’s] chance of victory away from them,”... (full context)
Chapter 33
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The Bears’s locker room is crushed and silent. Eventually, David appears with a bag full of pucks. He hands one to each player. Some smile... (full context)
Chapter 36
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David asks his girlfriend if she thinks he’ll be a good dad. She teases him that... (full context)
Chapter 37
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When David arrives at the Erdahls’, there are several middle-aged men seemingly standing guard; among them is... (full context)
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Mr. Erdahl comes in and talks to David and Kevin. He explains that it’s a choice between the two of them and Peter... (full context)
Chapter 39
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...training session in the forest. Mr. Erdahl drops Kevin off there, and his teammates cheer. David shakes Kevin’s and his dad’s hands. The club president is standing at the forest’s edge,... (full context)
Chapter 44
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Sune and his puppy have a visitor. David has come to tell Sune in person that David has an A-team job now. He... (full context)
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As David and Sune drink coffee together, it’s revealed that David hasn’t been promoted to A-team coach... (full context)
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The club president shows up at the Anderssons’ house. He explains that David has given notice and is moving to Hed, and that the best junior players will... (full context)
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David tells Sune that he’s going to be a dad, and they talk about parenthood and... (full context)
Chapter 47
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David stops at Katia’s bar in hopes of finding Benji there. He’s decided he wants to... (full context)
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David longs to drive back to Hed and embrace Benji, but he knows he can’t force... (full context)