The team from Finland, last titled in 2019, hopes to regain the World Cup crown on Sunday in Tampere against Canada (7.20 p.m.). Several National League players fill his ranks.
Finland has become a “monster” of international ice hockey. Olympic champion (in February 2022 in Beijing), vice world champion 2021, world champion 2019, the host country of the world tournament is in the final of “its” competition. Opposite, Canada, reigning world champion. For the third consecutive year at the World Cup, the poster for the final is the same: Finland-Canada, a classic.
Here’s what you need to know about Finland’s squad:
A “wall” in front of the nets
The guardian angel of the selection goes by the sweet name of Jussi Olkinuora. The 31-year-old goalkeeper is a product of Tappara Tampere – arch-rivals of Ilves, the city’s other club, but he never played professionally at his parent club. The future goalkeeper of HC Biel (from next season) stormed onto the canvas at the World Cup with exceptional statistics (7 games, 96.05% saves, 0.86 goals conceded per game and four shutouts!). His life’s journey took him to North America, from the College Circuit (NCAA) to the minor leagues (from the East Coast Hockey League to the American Hockey League). He then returned to Europe, where he played in Finland (SayPa, JYP, Pelicans) and KHL (Admiral Vladivostok and Metallurg Magnitogorsk).
A giant in attack
Marko Anttila, 2m03 for 107 kilos. The former Jokerit Helsinki (now Ilves Tampere) striker rose to fame when he scored two of Finland’s three goals in the final against Canada as they won the 2019 World Cup in Slovakia. This year, Anttila bailed his team out with his two goals against Slovakia in the quarter-finals. What if the “giant” saved the best for last like it did three years ago?
The “Swiss” band
Finland is obviously the most “Swiss” team in the tournament. Valtteri Filppula (GE Servette) is the captain and the emblematic figure with his more than 1200 NHL games. The flag bearer of the Finnish Olympic delegation at the last Olympic Games can also join the very closed circle (“Triple Gold Club”) of players who won the Stanley Cup (2008 with Detroit) at the Olympic Games (2022) on Sunday at 38. have won. and the World Cup. There are others from the “Swiss” and future players of the national league championship. Like Toni Rajala (Bienne), Harri Pesonen (Langnau, ex LHC), Sami Vatanen (GE Servette) and Juuso Hietanen (last season Ambri). From next season goalkeeper Jussi Olkinuora will strengthen HC Biel and defender Mikko Lehtonen the ZSC Lions. It promises!
Finland is aiming for a fourth title
The golden generation of Ville Peltonen, Saku Koivu, Jere Lehtinen and Antti Törmänen won the first World Cup against the host country and a great rival in Sweden in 1995. Since then, the Finns have beaten Sweden again in 2011 (in Cologne, Germany) and Canada in 2019 at the World Cup in Slovakia. Beaten by the Maple Leaf selection in the finals last year, they are aiming for a fourth world title at home this year. But all the pressure will be on them in Tampere, especially as their record in the final against the Canadians does not speak for them: in five finals at a World Cup so far, the Canadians have beaten the Finns four times.
Jukka Jalonen, an already legendary coach
Everything the former coach of Jokerit Helsinki in the KHL (between 2016 and 2018) touches turns to gold. The 59-year-old led the national team at the 2011 World Cup in Germany. Jukka Jalonen, not to be confused with Kari Jalonen (ex-CP Bern coach and current Czech Republic coach), was also the top pick for the 2019 triumph in Slovakia. Most notably, it was he who led Finland to its first Olympic gold medal in Beijing last February. If Jukka Jalonen wins again against Canada this Sunday night, he will have been at the top of every major title Finland has won save for their first-ever title, in 1995.
#Ice #hockey #Finland #aiming #fourth #world #title #home #Tampere