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16 long years later…

May 16, 2011

Finland is again the world champion in men’s ice hockey! The clock read 00.52 when I scribbled this entry down on an envelope on the kitchen table.

In western Espoo when I stepped out on my front step I could hear car horns blaring and people whooping and cheering, the sounds of victory. Indeed. Let me explain this entry – I am Canadian. I am also Finnish. And I am. A hockey fan.

I don’t profess to know anything more than other people about the sport, but I do enjoy a good spot of hockey at any time of the year.

This year’s world hockey championships in Slovakia are no exception. This had to have been one of the best tournaments in years. Men’s hockey has developed so much in the last few years that it is fair to say that no less than eight teams can vie for medals in any given tournament. The Swiss and the Germans have pulled off stellar upsets of the likes of Russia, Canada and the U.S. Denmark and Norway have finally got their feet in this level of hockey and are known to put a good scare on any of the top teams – Sweden can relate as Norway knocked them down a notch in the preliminary round in this year’s tournament.

So – the gold medal game: Finland won the gold medal in Bratislava beating their (oh so cliché) arch rivals, Sweden. The final score was 6-1 – with three goals coming in the last four minutes of the game. How can I describe it? Dare I say here that a 7-1 final score had passed through my head earlier in the day – it did! I told my cousin it would be 4-2. The Mr. and I (sort of) agreed on a low scoring game. Team Sweden imploded… It was 2003 all over again – in reverse. For the uninformed, Finland blew a 5-1 lead against Sweden at the 2003 WHC in front of a home crowd, losing 6-5. It was a humiliating loss.

It was rather difficult to keep quiet, with the goals coming fast and furious in the third period, the excitement grew. Finland has always had a place in my heart for historical family reasons; now as one of them I can join in for real.

I do hope that someone will relate the next part to someone on the Team Finland staff – it was incredibly maddening to watch Finnish power plays in this tournament. In my honest opinion opposing goalies should be seeing more rubber than road kill – but Finland just wouldn’t shoot the puck. (If you consider the number of shots, for example, Canada took during their games, Finland is lucky to be where they are.) The Finns need to shoot the puck at the goalie more often… Slooooow line changes and bringing the play to the defensive end of the ice was huge time waster. Compare the regrouping play to Sweden, for example, they start regrouping at centre ice. Why the wait Finland? These are things to note for 2012 and I sure hope Finland will tweak their game ever so slightly to address these deficiencies in their game.

But in the end, does it really matter? Finland has the gold and some 2.4 million people tuned into the game on YLE – incredible!… A heartfelt congratulations to Coach Jalonen and all of Team Finland for sending all of Finland into a happy frenzy – we needed it! See you in 2012 in Helsinki, 354 days from now!

The Mr. wore this hat one game and he was stuck, I made him put it on every game after that!

One Comment leave one →
  1. anonymous permalink
    May 19, 2011 7:12 pm

    Oh, come on! Let the hubby rejoice with historical accuracy, if he so wishes.

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