Monday, September 13, 2010

Bruins partner with Gods of Metal in Finnish Hockey Team form

The Bruins just signed a deal with JYP, an SM-Liiga team from Finland. I immediately reached out to sleza, a real live Finn, as someone who might know more about them than me. Here's what she found out, with minimal editing:

For somewhat unknown reasons, the Bruins have signed a deal with a Finnish team called JYP (note, the pronunciation is close to “yup” not to J Y P) which enables training co-operation, a player exchange and exchange of information between the organizations. The co-operation will include 6 teams: Boston Bruins, Providence Bruins, Reading Royals, JYP, D-team (JYP’s “farm team”, plays on the 2nd highest league in Finland) and JYP’s A-juniors. The final details of this deal will be discussed in Prague between 8th and 10th of October.

Basic info: JYP is a Finnish Elite League team from Jyväskylä. I know, I know… It’s a horrible word monster with too many umlauts. But hey, at least it’s not Örnsköldsvik. The team is the only Elite League team in the Jyväskylä area (and the only team in its near – and not so near – surroundings for that matter) so it has a pretty large potential fan base.

Jyväskylä’s first hockey team (and the granddad of the modern JYP) was found in 1947 and the team has played in the Elite League from 1985.

Success: JYP’s best years this far were in the late 80’s and early 90’s but they didn’t won their first championship until 2008-2009, when they destroyed Kärpät 4-0 in the final series. This was quite an achievement since Kärpät had won 4 from the last 5 championships before that. JYP was also 3rd in 2009-2010 season (yes, we have “bronze game” in our league and yes, some players occasionally skip that). Their journey in the league hasn’t been skating from one success to another if you count the golds but overall, with the small/medium budget, they’ve done good work.

Despite not being bad in the big boys’ league, their success in the juniors has been better: "JYP is renowned for its strong work with juniors. The club’s junior teams have won numerous Finnish youth championships, most recently in the spring of 2007, when JYP’s ‘B’ juniors (under 18) won the gold medal.

Players: Like said, their budget is not the highest one in the league so the star players they might have had, have usually moved to other teams pretty quickly, following the siren call of money. Some of the biggest names who played in Jyväskylä are Steve Kariya and Michael Nylander.

From JYP’s players 15 have been drafted to NHL, among them Ducks’ 4th round pick in 2009 Sami Vatanen, who (despite the low draft) is one of JYP’s top prospects and broke last season the rookie defensemen’s points record.

Missing link in the puzzle: JYP’s Director of Player Development/player development coordinator Jukka Holtari is also a Bruins scout.

Fun fact: They know how to make an entrance:

Thanks very much to friend of the blog sleza for writing this up for us. And the sweet youtube video. My thought: could it be a destination for an underperforming player a la Nylander last year?