The NHL’s superstars created a heartwarming atmosphere in Tampere – Finns’ humor blossomed, but one of them brought a tear to your eye

The NHLs superstars created a heartwarming atmosphere in Tampere

At the latest on Thursday, you noticed that the NHL had arrived in Tampere. The Colorado Avalanche, who won the Stanley Cup last summer, arrived in Tampere via state railways at 1 p.m., the Columbus Blue Jackets an hour later. In addition to the advertisements erected around the city center, the fan area built in Keskustori announced the arrival of the circus.

In the fan area, NHL fans have the opportunity to watch the weekend’s matches on big screens and enjoy food and drink during the holiday with various mission points.

In the actual game arena, it started happening already at two o’clock on Thursday. At that time, the doors were opened for the training event, where thousands of spectators came to watch the teams’ training. Especially the joy of the smallest ones in the family didn’t need a particularly accurate radar sense – the elves followed their idols with enormous piety and joy.

For those who came to watch the exercises Jussi Lilja and Perttu Inkilä watching the children’s joy was a big part of the event.

– Junnu has a fun mood. It has become part of the fun to watch how happy they are. The best part was when the kids watched the Columbus players receive instructions and then shouted the classic Patrick Laine -meme: “It’s a difficult game!”, the men laughed.

A few meters away, we found a group of three boys dressed in NHL jerseys. Jonah, Emelie and Ossi said they were die-hard NHL fans and listed their favorite players and teams as if from an assembly line. Many of the youngest members of the family also received autographs from their role models before the practice.

– We are really hard, sickly hard NHL fans and I will come to watch the game on Saturday. My favorite teams are Vegas and Seattle and if they came here I would curse, but when I can’t curse, I won’t. My favorite player is Max Pacioretty and Nathan MacKinnonJoona said firmly.

– My godparents live in Seattle. I have received from them (Jonas) Donskoy the shirt. Seattle is my favorite, Ossi nodded.

For the young boys, the best part of the training day was simply seeing the NHL teams practice. At the same time, my own NHL dreams just got brighter. In their own hockey hobby, the boys represent Tampere Ilves, which is the best I’ve heard.

– Of course we’re going to the NHL. First to Ilves and from there directly to the NHL booking in Vegas, Joona piled on.

– I’m not going to Vegas, I’m going to Colorado, it was pointed out from the side.

Older fans were pleased by the arrival of the NHL caravan specifically in Tampere.

– I’d rather go to Tampere than Helsinki, Lilja laughed.

– Hey, “Patu” (Laine) was driven up there, the guy next to me started yelling at me.

The media room is buzzing

In the media room built at the level of the ice, there was also enough buzz throughout the day. After Colorado’s practice, ice hockey stars of a size that Tampere has not seen before started streaming behind the interview table. The superstar was the first to appear Nathan MacKinnonwho was eager to recall his experiences in Finland.

– At least I’ve liked the reindeer shake and the salmon soup. Bear beer was also good.

The Canadian forward remembered with a smile Artturi Lehkonen led by lyolyky.

– Artturi sang some song, which was short, and then he threw more slurs. It was really hot there and it felt like the skin was coming off. The Russians were the last to sit there, MacKinnon laughed.

The most special guest was seen after MacKinnon, when Colorado’s goalie coach came aboard Jussi Parkkila, Avalanche’s only native from Tampere. Parkkila, who hails from Hervanna in Tampere, was even a little emotional about the opportunity to return to his hometown with the NHL team.

In the evening, Parkkila was going to show his own home corners to his teammates.

– This interview table is not really my thing. These things belong to the players, Parkkila grinned.

– Tippa meant to come to the attention of this story, but it would have been embarrassing to start arguing there. It’s really great to be here and sleep at home. In the evening we go for a little swim, sauna and eat wings.

Mikko Rantanen instead, he did not agree to say how many tickets he had had to buy for his close circle.

– As you can imagine, quite a lot of family and friends are coming when it’s the first time the game is played in Finland. I don’t want to say the exact number, but quite a few tickets had to be bought, but that’s really nice in a case like this.

Neither Colorado nor Rantanen had had time to familiarize themselves with the weekend’s opponent.

– Kaksiysi (Laine) has a good shot, that much I know, Rantanen continued.

“Feels terrible”

After training in Columbus, the media room’s main attention was of course on Patrik Laine, but before that, the head coach was behind the table Brad Larsen. Larsen reminded that despite the special trip, the team that started weakly has an important task on the ice in Tampere.

– Especially our last match was really weak, so now we have to get things back on track.

Read more: Laine and Kekäläinen’s backlash for Columbus before the NHL matches in Tampere – the coach took the crushing defeat personally: “This was really ugly”

It was also found in the corridor of the hall Jody Shelley, who represented Columbus, San Jose, New York Rangers and Philadelphia during his playing career in the NHL. In the 2004–2005 lockout season, Shelley represented JYP for 14 matches. Returning to Finland for the first time in 17 years had made the man who had moved to television work reminisce about the past.

– It’s been nice to get to know Helsinki on this trip, because I didn’t have time during my playing career. Returning to Finland has brought back many memories related to culture and, for example, food. I have had salmon soup and other delicacies here. Today I will definitely get to the sauna. I remember my time in Jyväskylä with great warmth.

In the end, Patrik Laine, known for his oratorical gifts, also got to speak, who hoped in his own colorful style that getting to know Finnish culture had been a pleasure for his teammates.

– It’s been really nice to show the guys Finland and see how excited they have been about everything. I hope it hasn’t been really bad, Laine threw.

Laine also commented on the team’s weak early season, stating that too much clutching and trying should be avoided if the team wants to get back on the winning track. On the other hand, Laine also spoke highly of her improved – or lighter – skating.

– It feels terrible, but it’s nice if it looks good to others. Yes, I was told right away at the training camp that the going is lighter and better, so I guess it is. Of course, the summer was long when we didn’t make the playoffs, so there was plenty of time to train. “Sasha” (Alexander Barkov) whipped well, Laine decided.

The Colorado Avalanche and the Columbus Blue Jackets will meet in two NHL games in the Tampere arena on Friday 4 November. and on Saturday 5.11. The matches are broadcast live on TV2, Areena and the app. On both Friday and Saturday, the broadcast starts at 19:45.