Ismo Lehkonen is sad about Kekä¤läinen’s firing, but believes that jobs will continue to be found: “There are already many companies with long nails†| Sport

Ismo Lehkonen is sad about Keka¤lainens firing but believes that

Ice hockey expert Ismo Lehkonen was on his way to Denver when he heard about Jarmo Kekäläinen’s firing.

Timo Uusitalo,

Jussi Paasi

Jarmo Kekäläinen57, career as CEO of NHL club Columbus Blue Jackets lasted eleven years.

Urheilu’s ice hockey expert Ismo Lehkonen told Radio Suomen Urheiluilla that the kicks came from his butt and made him sad.

– I am really sad. We have to remember that Jarmo has done big, good things for Finnish ice hockey. He has successfully represented Finland in the NHL.

– In addition, he has operated in the toughest possible ice hockey place you can get. In Finland, it is not even understood what GM has to do, build and under what pressure the CEO of the NHL works holistically. I dare to say that this is not even known in Finland, says Lehkonen.

In February 2013, Kekäääinen became the first European CEO of an NHL club. He managed to work in Columbus the third longest among the general managers of NHL clubs at the moment.

– GM’s job is as tough as can be. It would easily take an hour and a half to film and break down that task, describes Lehkonen.

On average, the GMs of NHL clubs last five years at a time.

– Jarmo has built a foundation in Columbus for a long time and has often been in the eye of the storm due to some accusation, when, for example, the coaching or the top players have not been right.

Lehkonen points out that there isn’t a single sea captain who hasn’t been in the eye of a storm at some point. Experienced and steadfast professionals like Kekeläinen are valued above all else in North America.

– There are already many clubs waiting for Kekälä to scout for operational work. He will definitely find work there, insists Lehkonen.

At least two generations before the next Finnish NHL boss

In the end, the result Kekeläinen made in the background of the club was not good enough, and the club management of Columbus Blue Jackets therefore decided to seek new guidelines for the future.

In the era of the Finnish ice hockey boss, Columbus won only one playoff series in 11 years. Under Kekäläinen’s leadership, Columbus made it to the NHL playoffs five times, most recently in 2020.

In recent years, success has been modest, and Columbus’ winning percentage has been in the bottom mud since 2020 until today 32.73% (2020-21), 45.12% (2021-22) , 30.49% (2022-23) and 30.77% (2023-24).

– When you think about the young department chosen by Kekä¤läinen, NHL bookings and what’s there now, I think Kekääläinen will leave a good back if Columbus just find a quality coach. Sooner or later it will turn in a good direction there, estimates Lehkonen.

– The tradition of the club and its values ​​apparently lasted too long in the opinion of the decision-makers and that is why they came to this result (kickings), says Lehkonen.

According to Lehkonen, we will have to wait a long time for the next Finnish NHL CEO.

– I dare to say that it will take at least two generations before we see, if we see, the next Finnish GM in the NHL, says Lehkonen.