“Complete failure” – according to the expert, it’s time for the underperforming HIFK to change its sports management | Sport

Complete failure according to the expert its time for

broadcasts the ice hockey SM league playoffs in the Ice Hockey Round at Areena.

This was supposed to be HIFK’s season. The traditional Helsinki club started the hockey SM league season as perhaps the biggest championship favorites.

It announced its player budget for the season at 3.2 million euros, which was the third highest figure in the series after Tappara and Kärppie (3.25 million each).

The figures are not necessarily completely comparable, as they are reported by the clubs and the clubs may inform about their budgets according to different principles.

The potential success team was joined for this season by e.g. experienced star players Jori Lehterä, Leo Komarov and Petteri Lindbohmso the first championship since the 2010–2011 season was possible according to many.

However, the team’s season, which finished sixth in the regular season, ended in the quarterfinals, when the Pelicans won 4–3 at the end of the seven-game series to enter the medal games.

Urheilu’s hockey expert Top Nättinen according to HIFK’s season was a huge disappointment. Playing in special situations in the regular season was good, but Ville Peltonen the game identity of the team he piloted from 2021 was lost.

– I felt that such a red thread has not been found in these three seasons and was not found this season either. The playoff series against the Pelicans showed that there is no backbone when individuals make mistakes, but after the third game, the coaching solution was to switch to a close-the-hatches defense, says Nättinen.

– Minimize errors and only suddenly own the puck from retreating. That also says that there didn’t seem to be any variations in terms of gameplay and tactics.


HIFK has also underperformed in previous seasons. It last played in the final series in the 2015–2016 season, when it lost to Tappara with a 2–4 ​​victory.

Having served as the club’s sports director since 2017 Tobias Salmelainen under him, the team’s annual player budget has always been among the top three in the league, but they have only brought in two dullest medals.

According to Nättinen, Salmelainen, who is responsible for building the team, has failed in creating the club’s identity and player profile.

– You can quickly tell who is, for example, a player who looks like Tappara, Ilves or Kärppie, but it is quite difficult to find a player who looks like HIFK. There are tough players on paper, but are they suitable for HIFK and the pressure?

HIFK’s defense took a hit when the konkari pack acquired in the summer Sami Lepistö had to end his career. No substitute force majeure defender was found.

– Yes, a club the size of HIFK should find a kit suitable for superiority on the market. Here, too, you can see that there are clear flaws in team building, says Nättinen.

Nättinen believes that Salmelainen, who was washed out in 2017 as the sports director of a major league club, got into too tough a position too quickly.

– He has certainly done a good job in everyday life and, in many people’s opinion, worked well and diligently. But in sports, it doesn’t matter how well you play, how many come to work in the morning, or how many thoughts you sacrifice when the result determines.

could not reach Salmelai on Wednesday to respond to the criticism.

At the level of the Jukurs

Nättinen also attributes the hiring of the relatively inexperienced Peltonen as head coach to Salmelainen’s failures.

– Hiring Peltonen was a risk because he was a very inexperienced head coach and HIFK was a very dear club to him. That’s not always a good thing.

In October, Peltose, who served as HIFK’s head coach for three seasons, was given an extension contract extending to spring 2026. In Peltonen’s era, HIFK has been sixth and fourth in the previous two seasons, now seventh.

Peltonen’s style of play has been criticized as robotic, serious and stifling creativity. In the fourth game of the Pelicans series, some HIFK supporters demanded that Peltos be kicked with the bleachers. Peltonen called out some of the behavior of HIFK supporters “insolent” after a decisive loss to the Pelicans.

HIFK’s fan association Kamraatit, on the other hand, criticized Peltonen’s exit on Wednesday in the message service X. According to the association, the head coach cannot decide who are the real supporters of the team.

According to Nättinen, Peltonen’s position at the helm of the team is now very questionable when you think about the resources that have been used over the years, the players, the conditions and the security brought by the extension contract.

– It was like that from the beginning. I don’t think he was ready for that. If you don’t get things done in three seasons, I think HIFK is not the place where there might be a result in the fourth or fifth season.

Before leaving HIFK, Peltonen, who was the head coach of Lausanne HC for a couple of seasons, was unable to get Jori Lehterän, Julius Nättinen and Kristian Vesalainen like stars to get the most out of it and not to create a winning spirit in the dressing room.

In the last three seasons, HIFK has played one regular season game less than Jukurit, and it has the same number of points as the Mikkeli team in that period. Jukurien Olli Jokinen has been the head coach of his team for the last three years, like Peltone’s.

– In my opinion, this is the yardstick by which coaching and club management can be measured. In a completely zero market area compared to Helsinki and with a much smaller player budget, Jukurit has been able to do the same, Nättinen reminds.

Wire to change?

According to Nättinen, HIFK can be viewed in two different parts. On the other hand, the club has a functioning brand and organization that are interesting, inspire respect and collect market revenue.

On the other hand, the sports side has been mediocre practically throughout HIFK’s history, if you compare it to other big ones in terms of the number of championships. HIFK has seven SM golds. More can be found from Tappara/TBK (19), Ilves (16), TPS (11) and Kärpi (8).

Nättinen believes that the two sides of the club are getting confused for many people, including within the club.

– You should stop and think if HIFK is an event or entertainment business company or if it is a sports club. These are not mutually exclusive, but clearly operating as a sports club is many steps behind the business side.

According to Nättinen, the club should consider from the top level whether there are the right people in the business and sports side and try to transfer the success of the business side to the sports side.

– I don’t think staying put is an option. If we continue with these same people, explain and give excuses, it is pretty certain that there will be no change. I understand a couple of seasons, but Salmelainen has a pretty long streak under him and Pelto also has three seasons.

broadcasts the ice hockey SM league playoffs in the Ice Hockey Round at Areena.