Saturday, March 24, 2012

Outdoor Game in Helsinki

The game of my trip that I was anticipating the most did not disappoint. I was excited to see it because I had never seen an outdoor game before. The atmosphere was sure to be huge because of the larger than normal crowd. It seems sort of silly given the bitter cold temperature. Who would want to sit in an outdoor arena when the temperature is -18 Celsius? Apparently, 34, 264 people—the normal crowd for a baseball game—were crazy enough to do just this.

I wore just about every piece of clothing I packed with me and then borrowed other clothing articles such as additional long underwear, thick wool socks and a long scarf. I also borrowed a pair of boots that were too big for me, but felt like they fit because of the abundance of socks I was wearing. I still felt cold after 3 periods of hockey.

I learned during the drive from Tampere to Helsinki that there were some other things about this game that I found interesting. Number one, was the two teams that were playing—HIFK and Jokerit—were Helsinki’s two largest clubs with the biggest rivalry. Every game between the two clubs is sold out. This game at Helsinki Olympic stadium would be no different. The game from last year drew over 2000 more spectators, but the temperature was not nearly as cold.

The second was that Mikael Granlund, the leading scorer for the eventual winning HIFK, also was the second leading scorer in the whole league and was only 19 years old (he has turned 20 between the time of the match and me writing this piece). He was drafted by the Minnesota Wild and easily could be playing in the NHL this season, but decided to stay in Finland for one more year. He is expected to play next year in the NHL and must be the favourite for the Calder Trophy as the top rookie.
 Unfortunately, Granlund did not do much during the game. The player that stole the show was former NHL’er Jarkko Ruutu. Ruutu was known as a pest or agitator in the NHL. In fact, he was once suspended for biting another player’s glove. Jarkko drew several boos from the home crowd, and got under his opponents skin right from his first shift. To me, he was the most noticeable player playing albeit in a losing cause. He scored the game tying goal in the third period that eventually forced the game to a shootout and extended the shootout longer by scoring as well. The home team HIFK scored the eventual shootout winner and Jarkko Ruutu’s impression on me went to waste.

1 comment:

  1. Great write up thanks for posting this .