The Ice Hockey Federation announced on Thursday that there will be a profit of no less than 13.9 million euros from last summer’s World Cup home games. In the spring, the president of the Ice Hockey Association Harri Nummela still estimate that the profit is roughly EUR 5–10 million (you switch to another service). According to Nummela, the success of the Lions resulted in better than expected sales and expenses were kept under control.
Now it is already known that from the WC winning pot additional club support of 1.4 million euros will be allocated to junior clubs (you will switch to another service). The more precise criteria are open, but the amount is intended to meet the growing costs in society as a whole.
According to chairman Nummela, the winnings of the World Cup are primarily used for the beginnings of the player path for the youngest age groups.
We asked Finnish hockey people what the millions of revenue from the World Cup home games should be used for.
When the World Hockey Championships were held in Finland for the last time in 2012, the profits from the games were directed to skill coaching. The Ice Hockey Association used the money to hire 26 full-time skill coaches.
– I think this was one of the worst decisions. It’s my personal opinion, but I don’t think I’m alone, Urheilu’s hockey expert Ismo Lehkonen says.
Lehkonen justifies his view by the fact that at that time, in small clubs, coaching managers were given up and skill coaches were trusted to take over the tasks of coaching managers.
According to Lehkonen, however, the skill coaches participated in the club’s daily life only once every two weeks. Lehkonen would recommend hiring coaching managers for small clubs instead of skill coaches.
– I would recommend that money be invested in the coaching managers of small clubs. When the club has a coaching manager, he puts his passion into developing the club. He recruits coaches and spars and is their support, Lehkonen states.
Ice hockey has generally had an expensive reputation. For example, the current head coach of Ilves SM league team Antti Pennanen stated in May that it would be worthwhile to fight against the high cost of hockey with the income available from the World Cup home games.
According to Lehkonen, in the best case, even hiring coaching managers would have consequences for costs.
– If there is a good coaching manager, he will find many solutions to reduce costs. If even the team he has gathered around him starts gathering collaborators, it would really help a lot, Lehkonen thinks.
‘s hockey expert also has two other suggestions for where to invest the huge profits. Lehkonen would like to focus on improving a specific area. It would be invested in such a way that the Finns would eventually be the best in the world in the sub-region.
– My proposal is that what if we were the best skating country in the world. It never goes out of fashion, Lehkonen states.
Lehkonen mentions the prevention of head injuries as the third thing to focus on.
– In Sweden, they invested in it incredibly. Information shocks, coaching for receiving tackles and playing in a scrimmage, and the world of values was brought out. In Sweden, these went to the grassroots level. It has spawned in the Swedish main series in an incredible way. Head injuries have decreased a lot among young players.
The former head coach of Leijoni and the current head coach of Oulu Kärppi Lauri Marjamäki According to the Ice Hockey Association, the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation has made really good moves ever since the World Cup home games. According to Marjamäki, it is not necessary to put so much money into the development of competence anymore.
– I’ve been away from the junior side for a long time, but I feel that we have a lot of full-time coaches, skill coaches and coaching managers. Of course you have to take care of it, but maybe I would look in the direction of improving the conditions and that the expenses don’t jump too much, says Marjamäki.
According to Marjamäki, there is a huge ice shortage in northern Finland.
– We definitely need more ice, even though we are in northern Finland. The natural ice situation is certainly not the same as 20–30 years ago. The children would be able to do activities and get turns. It wouldn’t be enough to have 50-minute ice training twice a week, Marjamäki states.
Noora Räty talks about the high cost of hockey and wants improvements in the main league
The long-time goalkeeper of the Women’s Lions Nora Räty also directs his gaze to the grassroots level when he is asked for his vision for investing the million pot. He also highlights the high cost of the sport.
– Ice hockey is damn expensive. Räty suggests the use of the money to lower the threshold for starting the hobby and lower the fees.
In addition, he talks about coaches.
– If that money could be used so that the coaches would receive a relevant salary. Coaches would be paid relevant compensation starting from the juniors. Whenever you talk to clubs about coaching, it’s a job, so to speak, says Räty.
GM of the Lionesses Tuula Puputti believes that the new jackpot will help the development of hockey on the women’s side as well.
Räty also hopes that the winnings from the World Cup home games would be invested in the development of the Women’s League and improving the conditions of the players. Räty reminds that in the Women’s League only HIFK and HPK do not have season fees.
– I think it’s shocking that players pay season fees in Finland’s top league. If, through the Ice Hockey Federation, the budgets of the teams were made possible in such a way that the players do not have to pay for playing themselves. Playing would at least be free, Räty reminds.
According to Räty, the current situation has big consequences.
– When a potential young player has finished his studies and enters working life, the hours, time and budget are simply not enough. We’re wasting an awful lot of potential in women’s ice hockey already. Players never reach their peak, Räty states.
Read more: In Sweden, female ice hockey players are paid – in Finland, ice hockey at the major league level is still an expensive hobby for many
In October, Räty played four matches in HPK under a tryout contract. Now the goalkeeper says that his playing career will continue. However, Räty does not say that, in which team. He has agreed that the club will tell about it.
Räty, who told about ending his national team career this fall, has previously said how he is looking forward to next fall and the new North American professional series that may start then. According to Räty, the start of the league is very likely. He has been waiting to experience that series again before he nailed the skates.
– You have to get the contract yourself. That’s why it’s important to continue games and some kind of training. It would be fine then, because the best in the world would play in that league. No free places are allocated there. It’s a raw business, Räty states.