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Picture of the Day

April 3, 2018

Happy belated Easter!

Last weekend I was up in Savo at the Mr.’s parents’ place and the weather was fantastic (except for the drive home in a snowstorm yesterday).

I spent all of Friday stamping out a trail in the bush with my snowshoes and by Sunday it was in great condition. There has been an exceptional amount of snow in North Savo this year – nearly a metre deep in the forest!

I just wanted to share my favourite picture from the weekend. I had a great time – and got LOTS of exercise. My dog loved it too. 🙂

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Finnish women in elite sport: Worthy of more accolades than they currently get

March 8, 2018

On this International Women’s Day, there is no timelier topic than this. There is so much to be said, that I cannot possibly cover it all in one entry. This is something that I can label as “To be continued…”

My kid was playing ringette on the last day of the Olympics and I found myself in the stands for a change. In discussing Finland’s performances during the recent Olympic Games with a friend of mine, she lamented that even though five of six of Finland’s medals at games were won by women; their efforts were painted over by Iivo Niskanen’s gold medal in the men’s 50km (cross-country skiing). The media went overboard on coverage, but the same kind of coverage was not reserved for any of Finland’s female medalists, she said. When I was discussing this with the Mr. in the evening he dryly stated, “They’re not men.”

Grrrr….

Come on! Yes, Iivo Niskanen won gold, but without the women, Finland would have been at the bottom of the medal table. Even Finland’s Chef de Mission, Mika Kojonkoski, conceded, “Yes indeed, the women are keeping Finland alive.”

Since last fall, the debate has been raging in the media about how undervalued women’s sport is in this country. Very few women in Finland draw any kind of salary from sport, virtually all of them work day jobs while they ply their trade an as elite athlete.

What follows is my analysis from the ice sports’ side of things. It’s where I spend a lot of time, and it is where we publicly see many of the glaring differences between women and men on the sporting scene. I suspect much is the same in football as well. I’d love to hear from other women out there on what it is like in your sport.

One of the best examples of the lengths women have to go to be able to take part in elite sport in this country is Susanna Tapani. The 25 year-old is widely known as one of the best ringette players in the world. She has played hockey at the international level for more than 10 years and also represents Finland on the women’s national roller hockey team (where they won bronze at the European championships last August). She is clearly one of the best athletes in the entire country and you would think she reaps financial rewards for doing so, right? Not so, not even close.

Last fall she gave an interview to YLE Urheilu (Finnish Broadcasting Corporation’s sports bureau) and reported that she was ineligible for unemployment benefits. She was not working because she was preparing for the World Ringette Championships (held in Mississauga, Ontario – where Finland won its fourth consecutive gold medal) and the Pyeongchang Olympics. Because she was not receiving an income of any kind, she was forced to move back home with her parents.

Of the decision handed down to her, Tapani said, “I started to laugh. This is incredibly unfair because I do not get paid to play sports, and yet I was denied unemployment benefits because of sport. I know I am not the only one in this situation, but this is the reality of women’s team sports.

Sport IS her job – and yet she is not rewarded for it. (Although after the Olympics, her home town of Laitila rewarded her with a EUR 2000 stipend, free workouts at a local gym and a plot of land.)

National team goalie Noora Räty, who has struggled to find work as a hockey player in Finland, is disappointed with the way elite women hockey players are treated in Finland. She can relate to Tapani’s position. The Washington Post interviewed Räty prior to the Olympics and she lamented the difference in attitudes towards elite women hockey players in North America and Finland. She says, “You can’t even compare,” Raty said. “There’s so much respect for hockey players in the U.S. You say you’re a hockey player, and you’re an Olympian, [people are] like, ‘Oh, that’s so cool,’ and they start asking questions. In Finland, you say you’re a hockey player, [it’s] like, ‘Get a real job.’”

Read the whole article, also definitely worth the read.

Goalie Meeri Räisänen spent a stint in Russia playing pro hockey (where she was paid), but registered as a job seeker when she returned to Finland. Her claim was denied and she has spent the better part of two years appealing the decision. In the meantime, she carved her way back on to the national team roster for the Olympics and has played national league women’s hockey, and also played on men’s teams.

To the agencies in charge of unemployment benefits, sport is considered a “hobby” for women – even though they may play at the elite levels of their sport in this country. In an Olympic year, athletes are required to be all in – and for women, that means sacrificing work for the sake of a spot on the national team. It shouldn’t have to be like this.

Veteran Riikka Välilä is a physiotherapist by trade and said, “When you have a mortgage and kids, you have to work.” She currently plays semi-pro hockey in Sweden for HV71. Fortunately her employer is flexible and she has understanding colleagues, so she has been able to apply herself to the hockey side of things in this Olympic year.

On the same hand Välilä said, “Välillä tuntuu, että Suomessa osa miesten lätkävaikuttajista ja jopa pelaajista on vähän painamassa naisia alaspäin.” It be roughly translated as, ”It sometimes feels that those who are influential on the men’s side and also some players force the women down.

The women’s game has moved forward, with the level of play moving up a few notches, but the financial support from the Finnish Olympic Committee, hockey clubs and sponsors has not been forthcoming. Finland appears to be lagging behind, yet Canada, the US, Russia and Sweden are examples of countries where financial support has been driven into the women’s game and women do get paid (something) to play hockey.

YLE Urheilu did an in-depth analysis in conjunction with SVT (Sweden) and NRK (Norway) to get to the bottom of the glaring differences between men and women in elite sport. Women in Finland are paid a tiny fraction of what the men get. Men also get the lion’s share of any bonus money that is rewarded.

At the end of the day sport, especially hockey, is still an old boys club in Finland, and this needs to change – NOW.

What needs to be done?

  • Highlight these women as role models. Good grief, if I have to do it myself here in this blog, then by golly, I will do it! The sporting media has been doing a piss-poor job of highlighting women in the sporting headlines. Although a ringette friend of mine who works at YLE said that YLE Urheilu is doing a much better job these days of covering women in sport than in the past. Let’s keep that coming.
  • Pay these women a living wage!
  • Get your butts into the seats people!
  • More women need to be put in positions of influence, but that is something I mentioned in a previous post.

Am I missing something? Feel free to suggest something to me!

It’s all in the attitude

The Little Miss has been playing ringette and hockey for the best part of six years now and I have been asked to help out with coaching on the hockey side more often than I was bargaining for. That’s fine with me, I am really glad to help out.

Girls’ hockey is still dominated by men on the coaching front. And that whole “grandfathering” attitude rears its ugly face now and then. A couple weeks ago, a male junior coach hollered at me at the arena in front of his team of boys and in front of my team of girls. The Little Miss was wondering why this coach was yelling in my face and why he was being so mean… She saw the whole thing happen.

It’s all in the attitude, right? All I could think of at that moment was this guy has just given a licence to his own players and coaches to treat girls and women badly – that they are worth more than we are, that their practice time is worth more than ours…. The girls were wondering why they were being forced off the ice before our turn was over… We’re all part of the same club. All I can say is this guy does not get the Fair Play card in my books.

(I won’t into go it, but it has been solved – I hope.)

Tidbits from social media

The Finnish women won hockey bronze in Pyeongchang and I was feeling defiant. I posted a couple of snarky bits on Facebook and Twitter.

Let’s see now… That’s Finland’s fourth medal of the games – and all won by WOMEN… Do you think the sporting press and people in power positions better start paying attention now???

Invest in Finland’s elite women athletes – NOW. They’re giving all they’ve got and winning.

This one got shared by a friend of mine who is in an influential position and I am glad she did. It needed to be said!

I also piped up again later in the day:

My snarky rhetorical question of the day: So will the Finnish women’s national hockey team be rewarded with the prize money that was most certainly reserved for the men’s team? <snarky, and I meant every word of it>

Just last week (March 2) I did get an answer to my question. The Finnish Olympic Committee awards medal-winning athletes as follows:

  • Individual medal wins: gold (EUR 50 000), silver (EUR 30 000), bronze (EUR 20 000)
  • Team medal wins: gold (EUR 100 000), silver (EUR 60 000), bronze (EUR 40 000)

Men and women are paid the same rewards, which was something I was curious about.

Gareth Wheeler of TSN in Canada posted a poll on Twitter after the Olympics asking if women’s hockey should be removed from the Olympics. Bloody hell – NO! People who responded were outraged (as was I), and yet Wheeler still tried to assert that the women’s game was not seeing any improvements.

I actually had a chance to watch some of the women’s tournament in Pyeongchang and yes, it was definitely better hockey than 10 years ago. The rest of the world is catching up Mr. Wheeler, just wait and see.

As a rebuttal, former Canadian national team hockey player, and three-time Olympian, Cassie Campbell tweeted that the women’s hockey final in Pyeongchang was the second most-watched event at the Olympics after Virtue and Moir (CAN) figure skating. I assume Campbell was talking about the Canadian viewing audience…

There is no disputing the popularity of women’s elite hockey in North America, I just wish the rest of the world would catch up. No, women will never be as fast as the men and NO, hitting doesn’t belong in women’s hockey – the skill set women have for the game is slightly different, but just as riveting to watch. I watched round robin play between Japan and Switzerland, and even though Switzerland won that game, the sisu award was definitely Japan’s that day.

Again, I will stand by the bold statement I made in late 2016. In 10 years women’s elite hockey will be much more competitive, the Little Miss’ cohorts here in Finland will be giving Canada and the US a run for their money. But given the situation I outlined above, can we hope that things will get on a better track for women’s hockey in this country?

<Sigh>

I will leave at that for now…

And this too -> Hey all you dads, brothers, uncles and cousins out there with female relatives in sport: Support them 110%. They need you!

Cue the eye roll – Finland was a “failure” at the Olympics

March 5, 2018

(Disclaimer – I spent most of February being really sick with the worst cold ever, so hence no posts last month. Thank goodness for the Olympics though! There is plenty to talk about.)

The collective national hand wringing began even before the Winter Olympics concluded. I pretty much wanted to eat my hat when I saw the headline from YLE in English prior to the conclusion of the games : “Finland’s Olympic let-down

Up until that point, Finland had four medals and then got two more over the weekend to round out the total to six. Cross-country skiers Iivo Niskanen and Krista Pärmäkoski secured gold and silver in the men’s 50km and women’s 30km respectively. Both were great moments. I even got out of bed early on Saturday, February 24 to watch the 50km, and again on Sunday morning to follow the men’s gold medal hockey game and the women’s 30km. Olympic fever? Yes, definitely!

A few of Finland’s athletes who were expected to “perform” included Mika Poutala, Kaisa Mäkäräinen, the men’s hockey team, both the men’s and women’s cross-country skiing relay teams, the mixed curling team and the snowboarding crew (except Enni Rukajärvi). They fell short, which yes, was disappointing – but jeez – enough with the over the top pressure! It’s fair to say that other athletes had a good day. Finland’s winter athletes are among some of the best in the world – period. The arm chair pundits can just stop with the criticism any time… I actually figured Finland would get 6-7 medals, but Krista Pärmäkoski was a big surprise for me.

Yes, Finland is clearly in the shadow of Norway and Sweden when it comes to the value placed on winter sports. The Guardian summarized some of the reasons why Norway is much more successful than other countries. To put it simply, “No jerks allowed”, “Community spirit” and “Sport for all.” I can live with that. Give this a read, it is interesting.

There has been so much discussion in recent months in Finland about sport, women in sport, para-athletes, kids in sport and so on, so I may have missed the boat on some important things happening in the Finnish sporting world right now. My observations – feel free to dispute my ideas, but this is what I see when it comes to sports in this country:

  • I feel that some money is being driven to sports that are too expensive and out of reach for most families: alpine skiing, snowboarding and hockey. Once you hit the elite level, it gets very expensive to continue.
  • More value is being placed on E-sports… Why? We need physical activity, stop glorifying gaming so much. Kids already spend enough time staring at electronic devices – drop them and get outside!
  • Girls are still being sidelined in the sporting world and this needs to change.
  • On the health front, Finns are a really self-destructive lot. I have lamented about this in the past. Alcohol is a serious public health problem in this country and young Finns are among the most obese in Europe. Why aren’t we taking better care of ourselves?
  • There are great role models out there, we need to see more of them!

Suggestions:

  • Sport should be fun, not competitive. I have been coaching ringette and assistant coaching girl’s hockey in Espoo for about five years. Our coaching leads remind us that it should be fun. 10-11 year-olds don’t need to be worrying about competing just yet.* We need to take a page out of the book of the Norwegians (re: The Guardian article linked above.).
  • Make cross-country skiing more attractive again. Right now, this is where Finnish athletes are proving their stuff. This country has had good cross-country skiers for a long time, we need to keep them coming.
  • Find a way to get more Finns into short track speed skating. For those kids who quit figure skating and hockey – speed skating is an excellent alternative. The head coach of the Finnish speed skating program, Janne Hänninen, acknowledged that getting ice time was a real barrier for kids to get into short track. (I heard this discussed on the radio station YLE Puhe during the Olympics.) If Finland wants to be competitive on the winter sports front – then build more arenas!
  • Drive more money into curling – this is a sport that Finland should be good at!
  • I have also written in the past that Finland needs to develop a program like Canada’s “Own the Podium,” which invests widely in sport across the country. It has produced results, Canada has now been extremely successful in the Winter Olympics since Vancouver 2010 in terms of medal results and top 10 finishes. It can’t be that hard to design the same kind of program in Finland.
  • The old boys club needs to go on the sporting front. Finland needs to get more women into paid head coaching positions and administrative positions. There is change coming on that front, but it’s slow going.
  • Again on the coaching front – don’t assume that a Finnish coach is the best alternative for this country’s athletes. Bringing in foreign expertise may be just the perspective athletes in this country need.
  • And finally: the media. For the love of… Start giving women more credit where it’s due… But that’s another story – and it’s coming.

*Just to let you know – we do try to make it fun for our ringette crew. A few weeks ago, their warm-ups were snowball rolling, and it was great fun.

Exiting the Olympic bubble…

March 1, 2018

Another Winter Olympics has come and gone, and again I am left with that feeling of, “What now?!”

Well, there is life after the Olympics, but there are still a lot of great performances to savour from them.  A few of my favourite moments and “Wow” moments (it’s taken a couple of days to pull this all together):

The medal count: Norway won a record-breaking 39 medals (14,14,11), Germany was also impressive with 31 medals (14,10,7) and so was Canada with 29 (11,8,10). Korea also managed to pick up 17 medals (5,8,4) giving the hometown crowd a reason to cheer on many occasions! 🙂

Social media fun: I tweeted different athletes (Venla Hovi, Minttu Tuominen, Annina Rajahuhta, Susanna Tapani, Riikka Välilä, Linda Välimäki, Elina Risku, Niklas Edin, Chris del Bosco, Pekka Koskela, Mika Poutala, Denny Morrison) during the games with messages of support and it was great that they got them. The support from thousands of people around the world meant a lot to them and they said so too.

Giving the King a hug: Sweden’s men won the 4 x 7,5km biathlon relay and King Karl Gustav was present at the finish line. I laughed my head off when one of the skiers gave the King a hug. So awesome!

Tied for medals in bobsleigh: Not once but twice! In the men’s two-man event Germany and Canada shared the gold medal. It was tense second or two after the final run, but cheers erupted when the Germans realized they had won too. Bear hugs all around for Team Canada and Team Germany – so great to see.

It happened again in the men’s four-man event when Germany’s second sled and Team Korea tied for the silver medal. Complete pandemonium in the stands!

Krista Pärmäkoski: She was Finland’s shining light these game with three medals in cross-country skiing. Forget Lauri Markkanen – she is hands down my choice for Athlete of the Year. Surely no Finnish athlete will top this performance at all this year. Wait for me to campaign on this later this year.

Marit Björgen (NOR) sealed her place in history by becoming the most decorated Winter Olympic athlete after she bagged her 8th gold medal in the women’s 30km. Her final result: eight gold, four silver and three bronze medals from five Winter games.  Will she retire? I haven’t seen any headlines saying so, so she may be around for the 2019 World Nordic Ski Championships, to be held in Seefeld, Austria.

Kallie Humphries (CAN) also made history by becoming the only woman to medal in each of the women’s bobsleigh events since it became part of the Olympic program in Vancouver.  (Please correct me, if I am wrong!)

Ester Ledecka (CZE) became the first woman to ever win gold in two different events at the Winter Olympics when she won gold in women’s snowboard parallel giant slalom and Super G – on borrowed skis!! Awesome!

(EDIT, March 2, 2018) The men’s 50km – dear heavens, how could I have forgotten this?! I did get out of bed early to watch this! Hopes were riding very high Iivo Niskanen, who was named Finland’s Athlete of the Year for 2017. He made an early break at about 20km and didn’t really look back. A late push by OAR skier Aleksander Bolshunov didn’t phase Niskanen, who changed his skis with just a few kilometres left and stormed back to the lead, becoming the first Finn to win a medal in the 50km at the Olympics since Kalevi Hämäläinen in 1960.

Figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN) – find highlights of any of their performances during the Olympics. I have no words, they were incredible!

Impressive women alround: the top four teams in curling, all of the hockey teams, speed skater Jorien Ter Mors (NED), up-and-comer Kim Boutin (CAN), cross-country skier Charlotte Kalla (SWE) (she won 4 medals) and compatriot Stina Nilsson, who also won four medals and Japanese long track speed skaters Nao Kodaira and Miho Tagaki who were multiple medal winners too. I could go on and on!

Impressive men: snowboarder Shaun White (USA), long track speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen (CAN), long track speed skater Havard Lorentzen (NOR), the German hockey team, ski jumper Noriaki Kazai (JPN) in his 8th Olympics (!), short track speed skater Shaolin Sandor Liu (HUN) and alpine skier Andre Myhrer (SWE) who became the oldest man to ever win slalom gold at the Olympics.

Missed the mark (and you gotta feel bad for them, but this is the Olympics and anything can happen): Finland’s men’s hockey team (they looked good on paper!), biathlete Kaisa Mäkäräinen (FIN), speed skater Mika Poutala (FIN) after finishing 4th again in the men’s 500 – by 0.03 of a second (!) and short track speed skater Elise Christie (GBR).

Another surprise was the Canadian men and women being shut out of the medals in curling – first time ever since it became an Olympic sport again in 1998. That being said, the curling was great to watch! The rest of the world has caught up!

Scary moment: Men’s ski-crosser Chris del Bosco (CAN), who had a scary-looking crash during the qualifying runs. He suffered a pelvis fracture, broken ribs and bruised lung, but was stable in hospital in Korea. No news has come out since then, so hopefully he is okay! Several other skiers and snowboarders also suffered nasty crashes and injuries in Pyeongchang, so hopefully they’re all going to be okay!

Comeback kids: Speed skater Denny Morrison (CAN) and Snowboarder Mark McMorris (CAN). While Denny didn’t make it to the podium, that he overcame life-threatening injuries after a motorcycle accident and later suffering a stroke – the fact that he participated in fourth Olympic Games is simply awesome. Mark McMorris was fighting for his life at this time last year after hitting a tree while snowboarding with friends. He stormed to a bronze medal in men’s snowboard slopestyle. Hats off!

Calling it a career: Finland’s Anna-Kaisa Saarinen (cross-country skiing), Hannu Manninen (Nordic combined) and Pekka Koskela (speed skating) gave emotional interviews to YLE after concluding their last events in Pyeongchang. They have all decided to call it a career – and impressive careers they have had! #respect

Canada’s Alex Harvey also said that Pyeongchang would be his last Olympics. There were high hopes for him to win some hardware, but other athletes had better days than he did. He finished fourth in the men’s 50km and was devastated.

One more year? This article is in Finnish, but use Google Translate to help you… The campaign has begun to get Finland’s Riikka Välilä to continue playing hockey for #OneMoreYear. As Finland hosts the Women’s World Hockey Championships next year, I’d say the time is ripe to jump on the bandwagon. 😀

At 44, Välilä just became the oldest hockey player to ever be awarded an Olympic medal when Finland beat OAR in the bronze medal game last week.

On the negative side: I was so disappointed with YLE’s coverage of the gold medal game in women’s hockey. The commentators were SO biased towards the American team (just like in Sochi). I understand the connection many Finnish women hockey players have with the States, as many of them have played university hockey there… But come on – the bias was really awful! <grr>

I, like hundreds of thousands of other people, believe that shootouts do NOT belong in championship games. To have a gold medal game decided by a shootout – absolutely ridiculous. Play the game until someone wins. Shootouts are okay for round robin games, but not playoff games… Whose bright idea was it anyways? And why do they do it? Wait – it’s probably all about money and TV rights… Who cares – at the end of the day shootouts stink!

The Finnish Olympic Committee and members of the media deemed Finland’s performance at the Olympics a “failure,”… But that is another story…

Women won five of six of Finland’s medals in Pyeongchang, and that too is a different story…

Enjoy some good round-up stories from the BBC, The Guardian and the CBC

BBC: http://www.bbc.com/sport/winter-olympics/43167215

LOL about Scott Moir: http://www.bbc.com/sport/winter-olympics/43151776

The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/feb/25/pyeongchang-winter-olympics-2018-the-games-of-new-horizons-russia

Canada had a good roll in spite of lots of near misses! https://olympics.cbc.ca/news/article/the-2018-olympics-were-big-win-for-canada.html

“Go back to your home country.”

January 22, 2018

How many of you living in a foreign country have heard that?

I have heard that a few times over the years, but only in the first few years after I moved here.

A social media storm has ensued since Yagmur Özberkan tweeted that she had been told to “go back to her home country” after applying to get a loan with her boyfriend at a Nordea bank in Turku last week. Özberkan has lived in Finland for over 25 years.

She tweeted this:

Which roughly translates to: “I’ve faced many kinds of prejudices, but this tops them all: I asked for a mortgage offer from Nordea, and I was told to go back to my home country. Thanks, Nordea, for good customer service.

Other than what I would categorize as blatant racism on the part of the bank employee involved, what gives?

There is more here on the fallout (in English).

My only reaction wide-mouthed shock. I am speechless. We have already heard about how hard it is for foreigners in Finland to even open a bank account and how it continues to be an issue even these days. All you have to do is peruse some of the most popular English-speaking web forums for foreigners in Finland to see that these kinds of things still happen a lot.

***

Long ago and far away, the Mr. and I had all of our banking business at Nordea. We also tried to apply for a bank loan and were roundly rejected – by telephone, with no explanation given. Now I wonder if my non-Finnish surname at the time play a part in that. One can always wonder.

At the end of the day, no matter how long we have lived in Finland or how much effort we have put into trying to fit in, there will always be a segment of the population who maintains, “All immigrants out of Finland.” or “You will never be Finnish enough.”

It still sucks.

My new favourite spectator sport

January 5, 2018

Handball.

Long ago and far away, I went to watch the Finnish women take on Italy in an exhibition game and so began my mild obsession with a game that I really, really like to watch. I’d like to play, but that’s a different story. I am approaching middle age… I will be content that I still play ringette and hockey – for now.

Handball is played by about 4000 people in Finland, and mostly among the Swedish speaking population on the south coast. It’s unfortunately an obscure sport here, which deserves far more attention than it gets.

I was really happy when the Little Miss declared a few years back that she wanted to try handball (after suggesting it to her). She is now in her third season of handball and really likes it a lot. These days she is playing for Atlas Vantaa. Timetable conflicts with other hobbies meant that I had to search for a new club, because she was vehement about continuing. As a junior player she gets into Atlas’s (men and women) Finnish league games for free, so when time permits, I try to make sure we can go and watch.

I am still learning the rules and I follow some clubs and players on social media, so I was pretty happy to find out there was a chance to see some high calibre handball close to home.

Last night I dragged the Mr. to watch a men’s handball World Cup qualification game between Finland and Slovakia, which was played at the Energia Areena in Vantaa. Finland is in the same pool as Russia, Slovakia and Luxembourg. From what I understand, only the top finisher of the pool will advance, and that looks to be Russia at the moment.

In any case, Finland and Slovakia faced off last night and the game got off to a slow start. I always assume that rivalry is tense between teams in qualification, but the guys on both teams were greeting each other with high fives and hand slaps on the court – even after the game started! They passed the ball back and forth a few times to get a feel for it and then things got rolling. There were a few penalties here and there and even laughs when players were dragged down the floor, and then picked each other up as the refs issued warnings… I was surprised. It was a good game and I’d love to see another one soon! (More on that in a sec.)

Slovakia prevailed 27-22, dimming Finland’s hopes of moving on. I caught some headlines prior to the game about the Granlund brothers (Max and Robin) who are new to the senior national team. They both play Finnish league handball for Dicken, one of the most successful clubs in the country. They’ve been referred to as the “Twin Towers”, and for good reason because they are both 2m (and some) tall – and are by far the tallest players on Team Finland. Of the two, Max saw more playing time… His performance was impressive: six goals. He was named as Finland’s player of the game, totally the right call. He has a cannon for an arm!

I am hoping my timetable is free next Thursday because Team Finland squares off against Luxembourg on January 11 in Vantaa. Tickets are EUR 20 (EUR 10 for kids) in advance and EUR 25 (EUR 15 at the door). Game time is a 18.30 at the Energia Areena in Vantaa.

Oh… And I think the Mr. actually enjoyed the game! 🙂

p.s. Happy New Year!

100 years of independent Finland

December 6, 2017

Well, it’s finally here!

Finland celebrates 100 years of independence today. There have been hundreds of events going on since yesterday and continuing on into today.

We decided to take advantage of the really great weather here in Espoo, and went canoeing on Espoonjoki. It sure was nice!

I’d like to wish everyone in Finland a very HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! Hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää!!