Shaun Heshka celebrating for Ässät 2012-13.  Source: MTV3 

There was a time when everyone thought that they’d never get to the playoffs. Ässät from Pori was deep down the bottom of SM-liiga table until January this year 2013. Suddenly something happen. Ässät won 14 games in a row during January and February. Going on like an unstoppable machine. Everyone was overwhelmed by their change and surprised so to say at least. Everyone said:

-Where did that lightning come from? The sky was clear for Christ sake!

Among the main reasons to this sudden success was that Ässät had found a good balance between the offensive and the defensive. Call that very good timing because they really needed to win. Everyone begun to work hard for each other in every game rest of the season. Also the goalie, Antti Raanta became literarily a wall.

One of the main pieces in this team Ässät during the last season was Shaun Hehska. Long time since I have ever seen anyone taking the command in the defense the way as he did. Not sure what to say really, but he was basically the chief, the sergeant, leading the team from behind and supporting the young guns Daniel Brodin and Joel Armia in their offensive work.

Hehska’s defensive qualities also offensive such made me personally think many times if he wasn’t a bit too good for SM-liiga.  Well, I don’t know really about that, so I let the scouts and agents discuss that part. But let me put it this way:

if I’d be a scout for an NHL team, I’d be sending reports about him straight to the GM (perhaps a NHL GM are reading this?)

“Hey, here’s a guy! Yeah, you know him, he’s been over here before, but he earn a new chance”.

But a KHL manager got him first. Shaun is moving on to AK Bars Kazan in Russia.

He played all the 60 games and 16 games in the playoffs. During the regular season he made 8 goals and 23 assists, which means 30 points.  1 goal and 7 assists during playoffs he did on the team Ässät’s way to the bucket.

I know, it’s not like Erik Karlsson numbers if talk about the points, but it’s not really about that, it was about the way he took charge for the defensive work with his attitude

“Guys, we’re going to make this and you’re doing exactly what I tell you to do”.

For his deeds this season he got the Pekka Rautakallio’s award for the best defense player in SM-liiga 2012-13. Well earned and deserved.  Congratulations chief Heshka! And good luck with your new steps in KHL.

Not: Shaun Hehska played some games for Phoenix Coyotes 2009-2010. He’s originally from Melville, Canada, and started his career in Melville Millionaires.

There are a lot of other awards of course but I will go through them later on. The names of the awards come from former players and functionaries who has done honorable work for Finnish ice hockey and hockey as sport in general.

/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala and Betsafe 

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






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