Beartown

Sune Character Analysis

Sune is around 70 years old and coaches Beartown’s professional team. He has been a mentor and father figure to generations of Beartown hockey players, including Peter and David. A quiet, reflective man, he resists change in the sport and especially dislikes promoting talented players too quickly. He would rather see boys play with their hearts than become obsessed with winning. For those reasons, the club president and many sponsors hope to see him get fired. However, he remains A-team coach at the end of the book and even helps found a girls’ team.

Sune Quotes in Beartown

The Beartown quotes below are all either spoken by Sune or refer to Sune. 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
Explanation and Analysis:
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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:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 41 Quotes

“It’s never your fault, is it? When are you going to admit that it isn’t ‘hockey’ that raises these boys, it’s YOU LOT? In every time and every place, I’ve come across men who blame their own stupidity on crap they themselves have invented. ‘Religion causes wars,’ ‘guns kill people,’ it’s all the same old bullshit! […] YOU’RE the problem! Religion doesn’t fight, guns don’t kill, and you need to be very fucking clear that hockey has never raped anyone! But do you know who do? Fight and kill and rape?”

Sune clears his throat. “Men?”

“MEN! It’s always fucking men!”

Related Characters: Sune (speaker), Ramona (speaker), Kevin Erdahl
Page Number: 326
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 50 Quotes

None of them sees the first skate of the child who’s the last one out. She’s four years old, a scrawny little kid in gloves that are too big for her, with bruises everyone sees but nobody asks about. Her helmet slips down across her eyes, but the look in them is clear enough.

Adri and Sune come after her, ready to hold the girl up, until they realize that there’s no need. The four boys at the center circle will build a new A-team next season, but that doesn’t matter, because in ten years’ time it won’t be their names that make the people of this town stand taller.

And they’ll all lie and say they were here and saw it happen. The first skate of the girl who will become the most talented player this club has ever seen. They’ll all say they knew it even then.

Related Symbols: Bears, Cherry Blossoms
Page Number: 415
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Sune Character Timeline in Beartown

The timeline below shows where the character Sune appears in Beartown. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
...with rink maintenance and arranges team travel, too. He was hired for this job by Sune, his own youth coach and father figure. Sune had explained to him that as GM,... (full context)
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
When Sune and Peter set the goal of rebuilding the junior hockey team to become the best... (full context)
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
...this is true even though Peter is going to be asked to fire his mentor, Sune. (full context)
Chapter 5
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Sune is so old that nobody remembers his age. He is short and wide, with “the... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Sune understands that Beartown’s club is no longer content to just play hockey. When Sune talks... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
As Sune walks into the rink, he thinks about the “moments of magic” he’s experienced, when he... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
Sune also took notice of David, who, at 22, had been a struggling A-team player. Sune... (full context)
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Amat remembers Sune talking to his skating class when Amat was only five, telling the little boys that,... (full context)
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
These days, Sune feels as if nothing about hockey can still surprise him. When he enters the rink,... (full context)
Chapter 6
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Amat leaves the ice, sweating heavily, without having noticed that Sune was sitting there. Sune can’t believe he’s missed the emergence of such a talent and... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Sune figures that it’s his fault that Beartown is made up of “bad losers.” He taught... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
At the rink, Sune looks at the banner hanging from the roof. It bears the club’s motto: “Culture, Values,... (full context)
Chapter 8
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Two doors down, Sune is watching the same clips over and over. Sune no longer sees hockey the same... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...Holts watches Peter drive through town. He remembers that, when he and Peter were 17, Sune had insisted that Robbie wasn’t ready to move up to the A-team. But the club’s... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Sune writes four words on a Post-It note and waits until he hears David step out... (full context)
Chapter 9
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
The club president wants Peter to break the news to Sune after the juniors’ final game. If they lose the semifinal, then David won’t get the... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Peter is grateful to see that Sune’s office door is closed. He thinks about something Sune had once told him about team... (full context)
Chapter 11
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
David believes that Sune’s view of hockey shows why Beartown has collapsed economically, too. Sune believes that hard work... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Whenever David comes home from an argument with Sune, his girlfriend teases him, “fallen out with daddy again?” It’s true that Sune taught David... (full context)
Chapter 12
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Sune sees Peter sitting in the stands during the juniors’ practice and reflects that he’s never... (full context)
Chapter 26
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Peter sits in the locker room and thinks about his childhood. Sune and the sport had rescued him from a difficult childhood—his mom had died early, and... (full context)
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Sune wakes up in his silent, tidy house and walks through Beartown. He recognizes and greets... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Benji tells Sune that just because the team loves David doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have been happy to... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
David remembers Sune talking to him about the team motto when David was a new coach. Sune explained... (full context)
Chapter 27
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Peter looks at the resignation papers awaiting Sune’s signature. He thinks about the fact that, while most people want to consider themselves “a... (full context)
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...resignation form. He knows the form will make it look as if the resignation was Sune’s choice, but that in reality, “he’s just fired his idol.” (full context)
Chapter 37
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...much influence. Now, Peter thinks he owns the club and is losing his power with Sune’s firing, and so he decided to get his family involved. (full context)
Chapter 41
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
Early the next morning, Ramona sees Sune walking toward the Bearskin, trailing an eager puppy. They go inside and talk about Sune’s... (full context)
Chapter 44
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Sune and his puppy have a visitor. David has come to tell Sune in person that... (full context)
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
As David and Sune drink coffee together, it’s revealed that David hasn’t been promoted to A-team coach of Beartown... (full context)
Parents and Children Theme Icon
David tells Sune that he’s going to be a dad, and they talk about parenthood and coaching. David... (full context)
Chapter 47
Culture, Character, and Entitlement Theme Icon
Resistance and Courage Theme Icon
After tossing around ideas with her old hockey friend, Jeannette, Adri goes to Sune’s house and asks him how to set up a hockey team. Skeptical at first, Sune... (full context)
Chapter 50
Community Breakdown and Inequality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...his foot should be healed in time for the first A-team game, as long as Sune agrees that he’s ready to play. Peter admits to Benji that they might not be... (full context)