There’s no doubt about it – ice hockey rules in Finland. It’s our national sport, even if unofficially so. It’s fast-paced, at times rough but always exciting, and it’s played out on the ice (which we have a lot of, believe me).
Finnish Passion for Ice Hockey
Demanding on its players, it requires real tenacity, which goes hand-in-hand with the very Finnish concept of ‘sisu’. The Finnish national team (the ‘Leijonat’, or ‘Lions’) are a force to be reckoned with and is widely considered to be one of the best teams in ice hockey internationally.
For a nation that is only 101 years young, our strength in ice hockey is a source of much pride and has become an integral part of Finnish identity, so for sports-loving visitors to Helsinki, this is a great way to enjoy a true Finnish passion.
Kontinental Hockey League
The Helsingin Jokerit ice hockey club is based here in Helsinki and currently play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), making Finland the first Nordic country to have a team in the league.
The KHL is the foremost league in Europe and Asia, and second only to the NHL internationally, having 25 member clubs from 7 different countries.
Jokerit over the years
Jokerit began as a club in 1967 and has seen many ups and downs but they have brought home the SM-Liiga championship six times, the SM-Liiga being the local Finnish league.
They are known for their exciting playing style, and their coaching philosophy remains very Finnish in approach.
One of hockey’s biggest stars, Teemu Selänne, honed his skills in Jokerit’s developmental program and subsequently played for their senior team for a few years before being drafted into the NHL.
Jokerit plays 30 regular season games here in Helsinki. Their home stadium is the landmark Hartwall Arena, located in Pasila, Helsinki, which is equipped to seat over 13,000 people comfortably.
The stadium is easily accessible as the Pasila train station is only a seven-minute walk away. Otherwise one can get there by bus or tram, and parking at the stadium is also available to those arriving by car.