Ihanaa Leijonat!

The headline does not need a translation. I could not refrain from saying it. I just had to. This is what the fans and all the Finnish people were shouting when Finland won their first World Championship in ice hockey.

Ice hockey has always been one of the most important passions in Finland. I do not even know why I have not written about it before, but now is the perfect time to write about it. Summer is over, autumn has arrived and winter is determinedly approaching us; the cold and snow mean ice hockey. Sounds good right?

Finland’s national ice hockey team is also called the “Leijonat”, meaning “The Lions” in English. The head coach is Erkka Westerlund and General Manager is Jari Kurri, who was a Finnish hockey player who won the Stanley Cup 5 times in the past. The new head coach is already named – Kari Jalonen will start his work officially on 1.6.2014 and he will continue as head coach for two years.

Here is a history of Finnish ice hockey in brief:

–       In 1933 Finland plays its first international match abroad: Sweden wins (11-1).

–       In 1937 Finland wins its first international match: Finland – Estonia (2-1)

–       In 1948 Finland wins its first World championship against Norway and Belgium.

–       In 1952 Finland participates in the Olympic tournament in Oslo and ranks 7th.

–       In 1976 Finnish player Matti Hagman starts his career in NHL, the first to do so.

–       In 1995 Finland wins its first World Championship against Sweden with a result of 4-1 in Stockholm.

–       In 2003 Finland arranges the World Championship for the 6th time. Finland wins the Euro Hockey Tour for the 5th time and the Baltika Cup for the first time.

–       In 2011 The Lions win their second World Championship in Slovakia. Funnily, again against Sweden in the Final with a result of 6-1.

Finland has won 2 silver and 3 bronze medals in Olympic Games, but no gold yet. The best is yet to come. In World Championships Leijonat have achieved second place 6 times, third place 3 times and has won two times.

What else? Nothing, just Ihanaa Leijonat!

Yes, I am a true fan as well.

Here is Granlund’s amazing goal from World Championships 2011, where Finland beat Russia with a result of 3-0.


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