A disappointed Olli Jokinen thanked the Jukurei for their brave decision – “Mikkel will always have a place in my heart” | Sport

A disappointed Olli Jokinen thanked the Jukurei for their brave

Oulu Kärpät defeated Mikkeli Jukurit in the quarterfinals of the SM league with a 4–2 win. At the same time, Olli Jokinen’s era in Jukurei ended.

Mikkelin Jukurie’s head coach Olli Jokinen walked on the ice of the Kalevankanka ice rink on Saturday evening and thanked the audience, who gave Joki a big round of applause. Kärpät had won 4–3 after overtime of the sixth game of the hockey SM league quarterfinals and advanced to the semifinals with a 4–2 victory.

Jukurie’s season ended and at the same time Jokinen’s three-year period in Jukurei ended. Jokinen did a strong job with a small budget.

Julius Hermonen scored Kärppie’s winning goal on Saturday in the first overtime.

In Jokinen’s first season, Jukurit was even runner-up in the regular season, but lost to KooKoo in the quarterfinals. The second season went worse, when Jukurit finished in 11th place in the regular season. This season, the ranking in the regular season was Fifth and Jukurit had a tough fight against Kärppi.

Before Joki, Jukurit had never reached the playoffs of the SM league.

For the next season, Jokinen will move to Sweden as Timrå’s head coach.

– I am very grateful that I got this opportunity. I am grateful to Jukurie’s organization that they dared to look for a coach outside the box. The whole Jukuri community and the people in town have made me feel at home. Mikkeli will always have a place in my heart, Jokinen said.

– I have been in a privileged position when I have been able to coach such motivated players. About 15 players have been involved for three years. The maintenance team and other staff have also been invaluable.

They went undefeated in the playoffs

Jokinen, a former NHL star, got a lot of column space with his colorful statements as the pilot of Jukurei. Although he was coaching at the adult level for the first time, Jukurit played entertaining and fast-paced puck in the regular season.

Jokinen had stated that the three-year project was aimed at this spring’s medal games, but in the playoffs, Jukurei fell a little short for both companies. In the spring 2022 quarterfinals, Jukurit lost to KooKoo in seven matches.

According to Jokinen, the season that just ended was the team’s best in terms of games anyway.

– Playing is always relative to the opponents. In the first season, we were second in the regular season, but in that season there were not many teams with a player budget of more than three million. Now there were certainly four teams over four million and many more over three.

Jukurit entered this season with the 12th largest player budget (2.0 million), while Kärppie’s budget was announced as 3.25 million euros. Tappara’s budget was also reported to be 3.25 million, but of course it is only about the sums reported before the start of the season.

– However, disappointment is uppermost in my mind. We couldn’t win any playoff series.

Against Kärppi, Jukurit lost 0–3 in the match series.

– An even series. The first three matches were lost. In the second and third matches, we had a chance to strike, we were perhaps the better team in those games. Three games behind is quite a mountain to climb. Two bullets were dodged and the third was quite close. Kärpät was just that much better, Jokinen summarized.

The last match was even and the situations varied.

– In the second set, the sled first seemed to turn a little towards us and then it turned completely towards the opponent. Fortunately, we were able to kill the guy’s momentum, they had a chance to take a two-goal lead. We got even and the end of the third set was a steady playoff drill. In overtime, there was a half-time and a great shot, Kärppie’s head coach Ville Mäntymaa your sum.