The Finnish national ice hockey team was eliminated from the World Cup home games on Thursday. The loss made true Leijonat fan Juha Pitkäniemi feel empty. However, he has figured out how to get over a big disappointment.
From Rovaniemi Juha Pitkäniemi has been a Leijonat fan since 1995. During the prize competitions, the games determine the working hours, and the Pitkäniemi garage serves as a grandstand with more than 50 autographs and hundreds of Lions-themed products. He watched the Lions’ quarterfinal match from his garage.
– The atmosphere is… let’s just say that it beeps. Yes, I would have gladly taken the 2023 stamp, says Pitkäniemi, referring to the championship tattoo on his arm.
Pitkäniemi has tried to follow all the Leijoni’s games since 1995. In this year’s games, he tried to build faith in the team until Canada scored a 0-3 lead on Thursday.
– Actually, all the games were a bit like what will come of this. However, I tried to grit my teeth until the end that this has not gone away yet. After the third goal, it started to feel like the beginning of the end.
Pitkäniemi pondered the reasons for Leijoni’s lackluster performance. The difficulty of scoring and the too much pressure made me think, but he was sure of at least one thing.
– Jalos didn’t catch it. Yes, those screens are on Jalonen’s side and not ours. Otherwise, it would be me behind the bench wearing a suit, if there was a way to win the championship.
The grandstand for the medal games was not kept
Pitkäniemi’s garage has always functioned as a grandstand in previous value races, where friends come to watch the game.
In these games, Pitkäniemi did not have time to hold the grandstand, because it was only planned for the medal games of the weekend. However, the garage and especially the ice bench located there was already in use.
– Even though there wasn’t a crowd to watch yet, I still had to go to the ice platform by myself to cool off my emotions. There was so much shouting here during the games.
The termination of Marko “Mörkö” Anttila was a sensation
Finnish team captain Marko “Mörkö” Anttila said goodbye to his national team career. Pitkäniemi’s farewell also made Pitkäniemi sensitive. The fact that he didn’t have time to get Mörö’s autograph during this playing career caused him a lot of sadness.
– But I’m going to try for so long that I get it through something, Pitkäniemi laughed.
After Finland fell, Pitkäniemi’s sympathies are on the side of the host country of the Games and Latvia, which is in the position of the underdog beforehand. Regarding the games, he plans to watch only the final match.
Even if the disappointment is hard and the feeling is empty, everyday life goes on even with a true fan.
– All sorts of new things are being developed here in the garage. Didn’t that Jutila once say that let’s move on. Gotta move on with this garage.