Central Division

The Stanley Cup Champions should not have any problems winning this division and the Conference. The loss of oft-injured Dave Bolland, part-timer Viktor Stalberg and hard working Michael Frolik should be not too overwhelming to replace with their plethora of young talented forwards in their system.



Decent mix of talent, size and grit up front for the Blues. Everyone’s Cup favourites last season should have enough to finish second in this division. Forward depth is a little suspect, goaltending will need to rebound but their solid defensive core will definitely be a plus.



Minny has a nice top 6 crop of forwards with some youngsters who have a lot to prove. They’ve added a ton of toughness up front which just might make them a bit tougher to play against. Backstrom/Harding will be fine in goal but the big question for the Wild, is still, their thin Defence.



Similar to Minnesota, the Jets have a nice top 6 with some skill, offence and good speed. Bottom 6 forwards are a huge question here. Back end has a nice mix of toughness, offence, defence and very good size. Clitsome has always been very good at covering the gaps.. Bounce-back season needed by Pavelec in goal this season.




The addition of Seth Jones should help a ton, Ryan Ellis’ time is now to be a top 4 D-man. Goaltending of course will be incredible with Pekka Rinne but still not sure who will be backing him up this season. The biggest problem for Nashville has always been their scoring and this season looks to be no different.



The addition of Tyler Seguin and Shawn Horcoff along with a healthy Jamie Benn should make this Dallas team respectable. Veteran Ray Whitney and, Erik Cole and Rich Peverly will help out immensely. Adding veteran D-man Sergei Gonchar will help out that offense and round out a not too bad top 4 D core. Lehtonen is always solid in goal..if he can stay healthy.



Unlike Avalanche beat writer, Adrian Dater. I feel the Avs will NOT be a top 3 team in the Western Conference. Instead, I feel they will be closer to the cellar. Scoring shouldn’t be a problem with the young crop of forwards they have but keeping the puck out of the net will be. While their forwards have offensive talent it’s hard to pick one that plays a 2-way game. Top 4 D-men for this team are Erik Johnson, Jan Hejda, Ryan Wilson & Cory Sarich. Semyon Varlamov and JS Giguere will have their work cut out for them.



Source of photo: 

The lion’s road to Sochi begins now. It’s a tough task for Erkka Westerlund to lead this team through this year. A lot of questions need answer. Will they come or will more questions appear?

No need really for the lions to win these games in Czech against the home nation, Russia and Sweden. But one of the questions he has: what KHL-players will he pick to Sochi?

31 Mikko Koskinen, Blues
 35 Atte Engren, HC Lev Praha (KHL)

 2 Teemu Laakso, Severstal Tsherepovets (KHL)
 4 Oskari Korpikari, Pelicans 
5 Atte Ohtamaa, Kärpät
 18 Sami Lepistö, Avtomobilist Jekaterinburg (KHL)
 24 Mikko Kousa, Jokerit
 28 Jyri Marttinen, Ässät
 38 Juuso Hietanen, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)
 47 Ville Lajunen, Färjestads BK (SWE)

12 Jori Lehterä, Sibir Novosibirsk (KHL)
 13 Petteri Wirtanen, Donbass Donetsk (KHL) 
19 Veli-Matti Savinainen, Jugra Hanty-Mansijsk (KHL) 
20 Jesse Mankinen, SaiPa 
21 Iiro Pakarinen, HIFK 
22 Toni Koivisto, Lukko
 23 Sakari Salminen, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)
 25 Pekka Jormakka, Tappara
 26 Oskar Osala, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (KHL)
 40 Jarno Koskiranta, Sibir Novosibirsk (KHL)
 42 Jere Sallinen, HPK
 46 Teemu Ramstedt 
71 Leo Komarov, Dynamo Moscow (KHL)

Spontaneously I feel at the moment Leo Komarov, Sami Lepistö and Juuso Hietanen from this squad has a chance to join the Sochi-team. Of course there are no certain spots in the squad and shouldn’t be either. Even the NHL-players have to do their absolute best during the season in their clubs. Those players, who are in shape until the flight goes from Helsinki to Russia, shall play. That’s simple.

Yes, it matters what players you have in the squad, but it also matters what kind of game idea you’ll bring to the tournament. Finland’s intention to play straight towards the goal and create a lot of opportunities front of the net, is alright, although they use to run out of gas too often when the third period is about begin. That happen last world championship for example, but that has to change now.

That’s the most difficult thing for Westerlund or any other coach to find, a good balance between run n gun game and a solid defense. Not even by those players who can handle it by good condition, but also with a skillful mind that is awake and can register game changes during 60 minutes and adjust the way of play according the changes that appears.

Thursday 29th august: Finland – Czech Republic 16.55 CET

Saturday 31st august: Finland – Russia 12.30 CET

Sunday 1st September: Finland – Sweden 12.30 CET

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe

Connecting the worldwide hockey family closer to each other by telling stories from Finnish Liiga and national teams. 


Until for some days ago I imagined somehow that I’ve heard almost everything about fans from places like Indonesia or Africa who support this and that team in any kind of league elsewhere. Much because that we can today find any sort of information about any team, any time at the day twenty-four-seven, thanks to the Internet.

So finding a French guy for example hardcore supporting Boston Bruins for example is probably not that hard any more as it was for 15-20 years ago. A slight exaggeration it might be, but still….On the other hand I just have to say that we who loves every kind of sport that we really do live in golden ages with all these info from everywhere easily reached by the Internet., any game, any league, any time during the day. Can it be better?

Well…. When things doesn’t seems to surprise anymore, the world hit one in the head and shake up until one is for sure awake. I love those moments, especially when it makes me smile big.  Adams story is just excellent and something for the rest of the world to be aware about.

Adam Williams, from England turned up front of my eyes for some days ago. I contacted him by twitter and email. He’s already a hardcore supporter of the Finnish Liiga-team Helsinki IFK and knows a lot about the club, every section, probably more than a lot Helsinki people do, included me who writes about the league week to week.

In the beginning of the mail he explains that there’s a few other Helsinki IFK-supporters around Britain and he’s a good friend with someone who supports Espoo Blues as well.  So I send over to Adam a bunch of questions to look up what’s the story behind all this.I have done a translation of this interview for the Swedish speaking readers in my Arena Kalevala blog at Betsafe.

What’s your name?

-My name is Adam, and I am 24 years old.

Where in UK do you live?

-I live in a town called Basingstoke in the south of England, about 40 miles from London.


-I have one brother but no family of my own.


-I work for the local government. It’s just a standard office job, which is great for when you want to read Ilta-sanomat all morning.

How come HIFK? What’s the story behind your support all the way from UK to Helsinki?

-I had just become interested in British hockey and was visiting Helsinki for the first time. I decided to adopt one of the three teams in the Helsinki area so I went to watch some games! My first game was Jokerit vs Tappara, and I was stunned at the size of the arena, 13,000 seats for ice hockey?! As you can imagine, we don’t have that in the UK. Anyways, Tappara won 4-3 so I crossed off Jokerit from my list, I didn’t like how they played either. Next game was Blues vs Kärpät, and Blues won 3-1, but the Kärpät fans drowned out the sound of the home fans and the arena was a pain to get to, so I crossed them off the list too. Now all my hopes were with HIFK or I was going home without a team. March 6th 2010, HIFK vs Lukko, and I was sitting amongst the away fans (thanks, Lippupalvelu…). There was a charm to the arena, it wasn’t new, the leg room is crap and it was nothing fancy at all – just how I like it! HIFK won 3-2, much to the disgust of the Lukko drummer in front of me who almost broke his drum in protest. From there onwards, HIFK have become a major part of me, and they gained a dedicated international fan for life.

How do you follow Finnish hockey from there?

-With great difficulty! I don’t speak Finnish, so I rely on the absolutely flawless tool that is Google translate. Okay, it may be flawed, the translations only work about 10% of the time, but you come to learn how to make sense of the mess Google creates. I also have a few friends in Finland who keep me informed about all sports in the IFK organsation.

What do you like about Finnish hockey in general?

-It’s bigger, better, and sometimes even cheaper than British hockey, and it makes for a great yet unusual holiday destination. I feel there’s also a great sense of local pride in these teams, they’re not just clubs, they can be the identity for smaller towns. This might be an unpopular opinion but the league has a no nonsense stance against fighting, and I have to agree with them, I really don’t care for fighting, this isn’t UFC. I understand it can boost morale in a team, but I’ll tell you what else can, looking at the fans and thinking “You pay my salary, this goal is for you”. And 3 points for a win! 2 points makes no sense at all like in NHL and British hockey. And also the possibility of relegation, another thing we don’t have but should.

Do you follow other leagues?

-I haven’t been to a hockey game in Britain for almost a year but I try to keep up with it when I can. I don’t follow NHL, it can have all the best players in the world but it will still be a league purely motivated by money with lacklustre fans and their poor atmosphere. But I don’t really follow much hockey other than SM-Liiga, because as an Englishman I am morally obliged to enjoy football so I spend some, if not most, time watching and reading up on the “Beautiful Game”.

Who’s your favorite player in HIFK? Overall and now?

-Well, last season I was fan of Eero Somervuori and Ilari Melart, but we will see what this season brings, some of the North American players look like they could do a good job, but that’s only if we don’t disturb the harmony they’ve developed with each other. Overall, I guess it would be Mikael Granlund, because I’ve only been a fan since 2010 and he was such a star player for us in that time, but there’s also Kimmo Kuhta, Toni Söderholm and you can’t forget the historical importance of players like Matti Hagman and Matti Murto.

Any other favorite player in LIIGA?

-Before they moved abroad, I liked Justin Azevedo and Antti Raanta, but there’s also Eric Perrin, Teemu Ramstedt and Teemu Aalto to name a few.

What do you think about Jokerit’s move to KHL?

-I think it’s quite funny, actually. Harkimo is such a little bitch and appears to have no respect for the club he owns, I feel like I have more respect for Jokerit and I don’t even like them, it’s all about money with that guy. Jokerit are a big club and have a major role in the SM-Liiga, but hey, what is tradition, history, pride and the fans’ opinion when money is involved? The Liiga will continue on, there are other teams who care about the sanctity of domestic hockey, and Jokerit will go forth and become a mediocre team in Russia. We’ll enjoy our away trips to Hämeenlinna, Lahti, Tampere, Espoo, Turku, it’s 400km to their nearest team in St Petersburg.

Will you miss them? Or will you think that’s good?

-Yes and no. City rivalries are not as black and white as most view it, it is a sibling rivalry. We don’t like Jokerit, they’re this annoying younger brother who only care about being better than everyone else, whatever the cost, so no, I won’t miss them for that. But, then I will say yes for exactly the same reasons. They are this annoying younger brother who we enjoy beating up, and like a brother, we are from the same house [Helsinki], we have the same blood. There are families in Helsinki who are split between supporting HIFK and Jokerit, and nothing adds to the tension like a good ole derby game, why would you want to take away one of the greatest rivalries in hockey?

Have you been in Finland and watched HIFK on spot?

-Many times. I went to Finland 4 times last year, I always try to get out there at least twice a year to watch my team. I don’t just watch HIFK hockey though, I’ve been to see a bandy game too and I really want to watch a football and handball game – anyone who supports HIFK shouldn’t just support the hockey team, this is a sports club and the other sections need your support too. The fans are brilliant though, and the fan group Stadin Kingit put on a great show at the football games.

What do you know about Finland beside HIFK and Helsinki? Feel free to tell anything.

-I know that Long Drink is awesome, and the milk is so much better than British milk. Reindeer tastes great! Finnish rap music is the worst thing I have ever heard. Your education system is better, the ladies are more attractive, the snow is more impressive than ours. You’re quite good with technology, Porvoo is nice, I haven’t seen a Burger King either, and it’s practically impossible for me to move there unless I marry a Finnish woman! I haven’t been arrested for running out in the middle of the road yet, Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim is the greatest Finn ever, Santa Claus lives in Korvatunturi, and there should probably be a statue of Jari Litmanen if there isn’t one already.

Who will win the Canada-bucket (Kanada-malja) this season?

-Tough to decide, but I do think Jokerit are really going to want to win it in their final year. Then you have last years finalists Ässät and Tappara wanting to work on that success, but I don’t think either will make it that far again, so I’m going to go with either one of the J’s – Jokerit or JYP.

What team will be dangerous and make surprises for the year? What’s your prediction?

-Ilves will not finish bottom! I do think TPS will be a dark horse this year. HIFK will make the top 6 again and Lukko will not make the playoffs.

To the last… and it’s a must to ask this: Have you been in a real sauna?

-I have not! There is something about sitting naked inside an oven that doesn’t feel right, I’ll go have a walk in the snow instead and pick up a hamburger on the way.

Many thanks to Adam for taking his time to make this interview. This is the first time as well for him he admitted. No one can tell really that would be the case, he did this excellent. I am quite sure that we will hear more about Adam and his HIFK-friends from Britain in the future in one-way or another.

And…who knows, it might happen that Adam moves one beautiful day to Helsinki and Finland permanently all the way from England, to follow his Helsinki IFK closer. Let’s hope so!

Although, I have a strong feeling that Adam will remain a faithful supporter of the club rest of his life wherever he will be around the world. Only set up the computer where there is electricity and Internet connection and find the first best stream. For me, and for all of us who loves hockey Adams story is somehow a sign that the hockey family is getting closer to each other, which mean also that our hockey family grows bigger a bit day by day.

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe

Connecting the worldwide hockey family closer to each other by telling stories from the Finnish Liiga and national teams. 


Note 1: If you wish to know more about Helsinki IFK, just click on the name.

Note 2: The award for the playoff winner in Finnish Liiga is called in Finnish Kanada-Malja, which could be translated to the Canada-bucket…or perhaps even Canada-cup. If you wish to see how it’s look like. Read the last post about Eric Perrin & Ramzi Abid. There you will see Perrin lift the bucket or cup in the air. Just click on their names.






Eric Perrin hold’s “Kanada-malja” (The canada-bucket) after winning the Finnish championship 2011-12. A true high light in his career. 

A lot would agree that NHL is the best hockey league we have today in the world, a league where most players want to be. On the other hand, it is not said that exactly every player would be happy to play there.

Many players have though found their fortune and happiness elsewhere than USA & Canada. Two players who have found their exclusive existence in the city Jyväskylä, Finland are Eric Perrin and Ramzi Abid. Not sure if it is the final destination in their hockey lives but they are towards the end of their careers, be sure though that they have still a lot to give.

Three real attempts Perrin made to make a career in NHL, in Tampa Bay lightning and Atlanta Thrashers. Even if he did quite decent numbers during those days there, the destiny wanted something else. Through Avangard Omsk in Russia he came back to the club JYP in Jyväskylä, where he played a season 2002-03. Before that he tried is luck in Jokerit Helsinki, Ässät Pori and HPK Hämeenlinna. What does that tell? Obviously he was not done with Finland the first round, he just had to come back…and be one of the players that made JYP to winners of SM-liiga the year 2011-12.

His countryman Ramzi Abid from Montréal, Quebec had four attempts to make an NHL career, in Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers and Nashville Predators. After that he tried some years in Switzerland, Russia, Sweden and Austria before his and Perrin’s paths crossed in Finland.

They are playing in a team I call myself “the termites” even if their logo is supposed to be a hurricane. Because they have such a game style that makes them almost literarily eat up their opponents. Extremely patient in the attacking zone and they defend their own goal almost better than any paranoid guard can protect an international airport from terror attacks these days. Perrin and Abid are the leading “termites” of course in this nest called JYP.

I have asked myself why aren’t they playing in NHL, the best league in the world? Of course it is not easy to keep a place for anyone, but it is also that players are also humans, thinking such that they do also realize where they are most happy and sometimes or a lot of times that place is somewhere else.

A big reason to come to Jyväskylä and JYP is just to play hockey, a game that these guys love very much. The Interview with Perrin where he explains in English his feelings about his hockey life starts  1:25 min into the clip.Kind of funny video with Finnish rap music.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.


Last year JYP were defeated by Ässät, Pori, the champions in the semis. But the team with Perrin and Abid is gaining new strength and looking forward to a new season.

Their European Trophy tour so far has begun in a very pleasant way: 2 games- 2 victories. Next victim for the “termites” (my own nickname for them) is Slovan Bratislava, Slovakia on Thursday. It is after all a small surprise that they are the best Finnish team, but I forgot for a while that they are a pain in –beep – to face and very difficult to beat.

I have seen Perrin more than Abid, but I can tell that they are both very competent players on this level and they will sure make the hockey life to a hell for the other team defenders and goalies. Perhaps they are not skilled with the hook like any Ovechkin but they are deadly effective when they got an opportunity to score…. or bite as a happy…nasty…termite.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.


/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe 

Connecting the worldwide hockey family together by telling stories from Finnish Liiga and national teams 



One Finnish team is left to play the second round of the European Trophy; Oulun Kärpät. They’ve went down to Hamburg to face Hamburg Freezers. Difficult games in any kind of way also important game for survive of the tournament. They have to win to get a hang on a top position in their group and reach the playoffs.


Jokerit Helsinki, Helsinki IFK and Tappara Tampere have lost 2 games in a row. TPS Turku and KalPa Kuopio has now 1W and 1L. Only JYP so far have 2W of 2 games. Let’s see how it goes with Kärpät tomorrow (read Saturday). If they catch up a victory they will have 1-1.


It’s all right numbers. Nothing to complain about really but a bit of a surprise as well that JYP is the Finnish team who seems to be fit and ready for the tournament.  Jokerit, HIFK and Tappara are disappointments so far, especially Jokerit that I expected a lot from. KalPa and TPS is so-so with their performances.

Unnecessary I think by TPS to drop the 1-4 for lead to 5-4 at the end of the game in Stockholm against Djurgårdens IF, who plays normally in the Swedish second division. I was on spot and saw the game. Thought after 2 periods that the game were pretty much over but the home team bounced back and pulled the winner trigger in the SO competition.


TPS Turku has produced a lot of players by the years. Most famous are the Koivu brothers, Saku and Mikko also the Kipprusoff’s: Marko and Miika. Other talents from the club are for example Sami Salo and Aki-Petteri Berg. Recently upcoming star is Rasmus Ristolainen.  Not to forget, the legend Petteri Nummelin.

They also were once during the 90s one of the top Euro teams. It was a utopia for many opponents to beat them.

Nowadays they are one of the LIIGA-teams that use to struggle in the bottom of the league. Far from the fame and glory they achieved in the past.

Will they find their way back?

Hard to tell, but I hope so. It is always somehow sad that a big club like TPS has dropped down like a rock for many known and unknown reasons. It will take to build up the team at the same level as before. More difficult than before I suppose much because that there is now so much more options for a hockey players to choose. If the team is not winning enough, then it is quite easy to skip further to another where they also probably pay better. That’s how it works today.

I suppose they have to find out something that keeps the good players to be loyal to the team over 3-4 years and fill with new players when they are leaving. One answer what that “something” might be is of course: money. Perhaps also bid something else than can’t be count in money, such as good social environment and other privileges.

Shall be interesting though to follow the team this year and see what Coach Kai Suikkanen can do with the material this year. I really wish that they would come back to the top one day.


The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.


/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe


Connecting the worldwide hockey family by telling stories from the Finnish Liiga and national teams.



The rest of the European Trophy started yesterday (read Tuesday 13/8)which means that hockey season started for real over here.

It also means that 32 teams who are invited to this tournament have to be ready from scratch. Ready to compete every single second, every single moment. I am not sure if Jokerit Helsinki was ready at all.

Most of the game against Frölunda HC from Gothenburg (Sweden) it did look that they were anything else than that. Slow skating and poor attempts to get some energy by tackles. Only Steve Moses had some true intentions to score.

The game ended up 4-0 to Frölunda. It was a fare result, nothing to argue about. They did everything right.

What made me more concerned was the lack of speed and strength in Jokerit. I didn’t see anything that tells that they are supposed to be a top-team in Europe.

The other LIIGA-teams KalPa Kuopio (loss against Linköping HC from Sweden) Tappara Tampere (loss against Djurgårdens IF Stockholm, Sweden) and HIFK Helsinki (loss against Färjestad BK Karlstad Sweden) went down a steep slope. Also Kärpät had to bite the sour German kraut delivered by Eisbären Berlin, four times.

Only TPS Turku (vs Brynäs IF Gävle from Sweden) and JYP Jyväskylä (vs HV71 from Jönköping Sweden) won their games.

Somehow that tells me that some of the finnish teams particularly have not done a real good summer practice. The skill of playing 5 on 5, power play and box play has to be there. But obviously it was not.

Well, I wont criticize too much.

Improvements can be showed of course tomorrow and during the weekend when they are going for the round 2 and 3. Although, it look quite suspicious to me and made one wonder what they have been up to since April and May except a few weeks vacation.

Ice hockey has changed a lot the last 10 years and it keeps changing. New teams are stepping up and play a very skillful game like the Swiss and German teams, not to talk about the KHL-teams. It also indicates that there is a lot to work on to keep up with the rest of Europe.

In the end it is about to find ways to develop and educated talented hockey players that can just go right into the games without any fear and fuzz and meet the other guys. That’s another thing that concerns me if the association and Finnish liiga-teams are on the right track or not. Time will tell and we know a lot more when this tournament is over. More answers where Finnish hockey is standing will be revealed after Sochi Olympics and World Championship.

Unfortunately the TV companies had turn the tournament down, at least in the beginning and not showing anything from the games except that I know about, they show the Finnish teams games. But rumors say that the bigger TV companies will show the final games during December. That’s something, but they should show the games from the start if they wish to take this serious and create a big and important tournament out of this.

Some of the teams show also their games on their websites, doesn’t cost that much only a few dollars. That’s another way to get round this, that the clubs shows their games on their own websites. Would that be something to do more and more on the future?

It could be easier for the fans to watch the games by the clubs websites than pay expensive money for exclusive and 4-5 different TV broadcasts. More info and results is to be found at their homepage: 

A positive thing by yesterday is that hockey season now has started and I know that you americans and canadian readers are longing for the NHL-season, keep the good mood up, soon your waiting is over!

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe

Connecting the worldwide hockey family closer to each other by telling stories from the Finnish LIIGA and national teams.





The European Trophy has started with a few games already. On Tuesday the rest will go into the tournament. By this the hockey season will start for real here in Europe.

Last year the SHL-team Luleå Hockey won by defeating their league-rivals Färjestad BK from Karlstad.

32 teams will participate in the trophy-tournament this year which make it more difficult to win also the status of the competition is higher than before. Exactly what hockey need I think, more tournaments that are filled with prestige, which is getting higher of course if the award includes more money!

A lot of top-teams from Swiss, Czech, Germany, Austria, Finland and Sweden will be in this. Only missing the KHL-teams, but they might come in the nearest future, which would be great. SKA Petersburg and Dynamo Moscow are two of the best European teams that would also probably be competitive in NHL if make such compare. They belong to a tournament like this.

Jokerit Helsinki, Helsinki IFK, TPS Turku, Oulun Kärpät, KalPa Kuopio, JYP Jyväskylä and Tappara Tampere will defend the blue & white colors in the tournament.

Which one of the Finnish teams that has the greatest chance win? I’d say Jokerit Helsinki.

A lot of players with experience, among them are for example Jere Karalahti, Ossi Väänänen and Riku Hahl.

The team is also searching for revenge from last year’s performance. Honestly they didn’t do a good ET-tournament at all, and their play off in the Finnish SM-liiga ended up in a huge fiasco. Rauman Lukko defeated them in the quarterfinals.

For this season, which is their last season in SM-liiga, they really want for sure show everyone that they will be a team that is ready for KHL. So this tournament is very important for them.

Other player to keep an eye on in Jokerit are Steve Moses from Leominster MA, a player that I like very much. Very skillful player I think he is. I am quite sure that he will be a member of the Jokerit teams that will join KHL next season.

He was one of the best players last year but as the rest of the team fell he did also a bit. No one particular to blame on for the down fall, it was everybody’s responsible what happen. It was also a very frustrating situation for coach Lämsä who couldn’t do anything than just watch and take time-outs, but that didn’t help. The team didn’t woke up at all.

All that is forgotten now and new times are coming.

The winter is coming.

On the European trophy homepage you will find the tournament’s game Schedule and other good information for you  Every game on Tuesday will begin 19.00 CET.

Who will be the winner of the European Trophy this year?

Jokerit Helsinki with this team they have now has a great chance to win as I said, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Swiss teams stand on the first spot at the podium when this is over. Swiss hockey has developed a lot the last 5-10 years and attracts a lot of top players to their clubs.

So in other words it is quite important for the Finnish teams get far in the tournament and show the rest that they are something to count on.

Last words that crossed my mind and that I pass further to the European Trophy Committee

Wish that the committee will only invite teams that end up 3-4th in the league. The case is not that at the moment, because there is a few teams that are far from the top of their highest league. That has to change to next year. Otherwise it will end up to a silly Disney-tournament and that would be a disaster for the hockey game. We wish to see the absolute top teams no matter where they are situated on the map.

However, now it begins. The summer break is over! Ready for face off?

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe

Connecting the worldwide hockey family closer to each other by telling stories from the Finnish SM-liiga and national teams.

Note: SHL = Swedish Hockey League. SM-liiga is going to chance the logo where it only stands LIIGA. I will in the future call it SM-liiga or/and Liiga.



The Euro trophy tournament will begin next week. 32 teams will compete about the Et-cup. Last year the SHL-team Luleå Hockey won after defeating their league-rivals from Karlstad, Färjestad BK.

A lot of hockey leaders around Europe have the idea to let it grow to a Champions league tournament for hockey teams, which is a splendid idea I think! Exactly what hockey as sport need at this moment to find new interesting competitions and I’ll support that tournament in every aspect!

I’ll be covering the Finnish teams and their ET-adventure because I am writing about SM-liiga and national teams for Betsafe and my blog “Arena Kalevala”.

Hockey need also touch new areas. There are continents still to explore where to bring new members and let our hockey family grow.

Connected to this I’d like to say further: something that crossed my mind after following the twitter update from the tournament called “Pitsiturnaus” in Rauma, Finland, including the teams Rauman Lukko, TPS Turku, Oulun Kärpät, Pori Ässät, SaiPa and Ilves Tampere. I didn’t see the games myself, because I had something else to do at the moment, but as I said I followed the twitter update from the teams who were involved in this tournament.  For the academic fact I can tell that Rauman Lukko won the tournament after defeating the SM-liiga champions from last season, the neighbors Pori Ässät 2-1.

Nice little tournament. A good warm-up before the season starts. The host did everything to make their visitors to enjoy the day with food and accomondation.  Hopefully “Pitsiturnaus” will last so long as I live, because I love hockey and hockey need these kinds of tournaments.

What made me a bit sad was that some other sport journalists – no mention the names because it is not necessary to hang out someone – wrote some awkward comments about the “Pitsi” tournament in Rauma because it is not big as Stanley cup for example.

All right if cover the NHL and write interesting articles also making daily interviews with the big guys. That’s fine. I love to read everything I am able about NHL and everything that happens there.

But unfortunately the tone of the comments about the “Pitsi” tournament were more like “hohoho, I am writing about NHL and that’s the only thing that counts and I am Mr. Big shot, I know everything…yada…yada…and I am too big for …yada..,yada.…”….

Let me get this straight, all right?

First of all and once more:

I love Stanley cup and NHL, that’s the cream of the cream. Nothing is bigger than Stanley cup. Well, perhaps the Olympics then when all the professionals are allowed to play and then the world cup with all the best players, after that comes world championship.

But every player can’t be like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Patrick Kane etc. Every other tournament beyond Stanley cup can’t be like Stanley cup. Nonetheless, we need these little tournaments like “Pitsiturnaus”, not only in Finland or Europe, even in Africa, Australia, South America, Asia.

Might sound unbelievable for many years but it is from these little tournaments and exhibition games around the world

……. the game of hockey grows. Like flowers on a huge and wide meadow.

Believe that these players that are way behind NHL, KHL etc. are fighting on the Ice and they do their absolute best in every situation, also that they have fun. They love also hockey as much as any other NHL-player or other pro player!

Hockey is not a game only for some exclusive bunch of people, it is everyone’s game and….every little tournament is much as important as Stanley cup or world cup are even if they are at the bottom of the pyramid.

I really hope that other continents outside of Europe and North America get support from the IIHF, NHL and KHL also from other pro leagues like SM-liiga to let the game grow by small tournaments here and there everywhere around the world.

By that also new members will be invited to the hockey family that it will be one-day a worldwide game for real.

I’d like to start a campaign for our mutual beloved game hockey by these hash tags #Ilovehockey and #hockeyiseveryonesgame on twitter.

Spread the word around to your friends, family and colleagues at your work and make a stand that our game is a game for everyone!

I let this speak for itself

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe 

Connecting the worldwide hockey family closer to each other by telling stories from the Finnish SM-liiga and national team.







Source of photo: weather 

The 1st august…

Leafs are falling from the birches to the ground already. The rowan berries blossoms to a deep-red color. A lot of them mean a cold winter. The opposite means a mild winter. The fall is here with other words and that means for us hockey lovers that soon…very soon…it is face off time!

Friends turning into foes when each person brings forth the jersey of their favorite team, shaky referees enter the ice, the head coaches of each team including their side-kick will chew gum 24/7 many months ahead until the fat lady sings for the last time.

But Finland the off-season has been anything else than boring.  It is hard pressure of everyone to make the real season interesting than the summer events.

The big news has been of course that Jokerit Helsinki, where Jarmo Kekäläinen was GM before he moved on to CBJ, is moving on to KHL next season. It has been until Tuesday a harsh time for the owner Hjallis Harkimo.

Yeah, he forgot just the little detail for the SM-liiga members before he talked to the KHL owners that he is going to move his team over to another league. The news bomb exploded before they knew anything and they were all quite shaken and disturbed. Someone could also guess that Harkimo hoped that he could sneak with this unnoticed just like that, but no. The members of the league raised their voices so loud that it echoed a quarter of the earth and demanded that Jokerit should be thrown out from the league so they couldn’t play their last year in Finland.

Lucky for Harkimo that they decided that Jokerit are allowed to play but have to pay about a fee 5-8 million € for compensation to the league. Probably he’d move on the team to KHL if they decided otherwise. But still it was a good decision, for the hockey fans. They are the great winners in this affair.

Every team will do anything to beat Jokerit. Every single hall will probably be sold-out until the ceiling when they come for visit. Others motivation is the usual that they are from the capitol, but now the motivation is higher because it is their last year of the league and Jokerit wish to show whole Finland that they are a team for bigger leagues.

Last year they were smashed to the ground in the quarterfinals by Rauman Lukko. Which was of course a huge disaster for the team. They expected more than that, especially when they ended up in the first place before the playoffs.

The other teams are haunting them….

The experienced columnist at Iltalehti (means Evening paper), Pekka Jalonen, did wrote in his last column that “when a player knows that he wont be a part of the KHL-team, he wont brake his leg, teeth or let his heart bleeding when it comes to tougher times at spring”.

Hard times for Head coach Lämsä to keep players motivated during the season after a couple of defeats, especially when he also knows that some of the players wont staying after season.


I was reflecting about the part how things can go when someone, in this case Harkimo thinks only about the money. He’s a businessman so he should only be concerned about the money. I don’t argue about that.

But hockey is something else somehow. Hockey is a sport. Not a bunch of panties for miss Nancy’s to sell. Money does a lot of course for the sport, but it is not all. Hockey is about ideas, passion and emotions. To be a part of something, a club or a fan organization that supports a club day in day out. Nothing a man in his position shouldn’t pee on. But he did and he do.

I can guarantee that if he just told the others before what was going on in his mind, that he’s going to move on the team to another league, they would also say “alright” from the very first beginning. A bit disappointed they would be of course, but no harder feelings they wouldn’t be like it is now. KHL is after all a huge step and challenge also a good affair for Finnish hockey.

But  a businessman is a businessman and we can’t get away from that fact. It is their nature to act in the mist, even if they won’t have to.

To the last: the decision is made and they’ll remain in the league for one more year before it is time to take the flight to Vladivostok, Moscow, Zagreb, Prague etc.

I can also mention that some teams will begin an exhibition tournament already in Rauma. Soon also will the European Trophy tournament begin as well! Many hockey leaders have the idea to let the ET tournament grow to a European champions league of hockey. That would be cool if that happened. More about all this next week!

Wish you my dear reader a nice weekend! Watch this video. It is some kind of “thank you for all these years and good luck” video of Jokerit.

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.


Cheerio! Hockey lovers!

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena kalevala, betsafe 


Connecting the worldwide hockey family closer to each other by telling stories from the Finnish SM-liiga and national teams. 



  © 2012 crash the net

Privacy Policy