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.
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.
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/Arto Palovaara, from Arena Kalevala, Betsafe
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