Finland men's national ice hockey team
|Nickname(s)||Leijonat (The Lions)|
|Association||Finnish Ice Hockey Association|
|General Manager||Jari Kurri|
|Head coach||Erkka Westerlund|
|Most games||Raimo Helminen (331)|
|Most points||Raimo Helminen (207)|
|Highest IIHF ranking||2 (first in 2011)|
|Lowest IIHF ranking||7 (2005)|
| Sweden 8–1 Finland
(Helsinki, Finland; 29 January 1928)
| Finland 20–1 Norway
(Hämeenlinna, Finland; 12 March 1947)
| Canada 24–0 Finland
(Oslo, Norway; 3 March 1958)
|IIHF World Championships|
|Appearances||56 (first in 1939)|
|Best result||Gold: 2 – 1995, 2011|
|Canada Cup and World Cup|
|Best result||Runner-up: 1 – 2004|
|Appearances||14 (first in 1952)|
|Medals|| Gold: –
Silver: 1988, 2006
Bronze: 1994, 1998, 2010
|International record (W–L–T)|
The Finnish men's national ice hockey team, or Leijonat / Lejonen (The Lions in Finnish and Swedish), as it is called in Finland, is governed by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association. Finland is considered a member of the "Big Seven", along with Canada, the Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States.
At the 1998 Olympic men's ice hockey tournament, Team Finland came away with Bronze, after defeating Canadian national team3-2. Teemu Selänne led the tournament in goals scored(4) and total points achieved(10). The tournament was the first in which professional players from the National Hockey League (NHL) were allowed to participate, allowing national teams to be constructed using the best possible talent from each country. The 1998 Olympic tournament therefore came to be known as the "Tournament of the Century". Unlike previous Olympics where athletes could choose five-star hotel accommodations (such as the USA Men's Basketball team), NHL players were required to stay in the Olympic Village like other athletes.
In the 2006 Winter Olympics, Finland won a Silver medal, coming close to winning in the final but losing 3–2 to the Swedish national team. Finland's goaltender Antero Niittymäki was named the MVP of the tournament (only 8 goals against in the whole tournament) and Teemu Selänne was voted best forward. The format was changed from the 1998 and 2002 tournaments, to a format similar to the 1992 and 1994 tournaments. The number of teams was reduced from 14 to 12. The 12 teams were split into two groups in the preliminary stage, which followed a round robin format. Each team played the other teams in their group once. The top four teams from each group advanced to the quarter-finals.
At the 2007 IIHF World Championship, Finland lost the finals to Canada's national team. The final marked the second time that Finland and Canada met in the final of a World Championship, the first time being in 1994. However only a year before in 2006 Finland had defeated Canada 5–0 in the Bronze medal game. In 2007, Canada were looking on form, being undefeated coming into the playoff round, while Finland had registered two losses in the run-up to the finals. Rick Nash scored on the powerplay at 6:10 into the first period on a one-timer from the point from a pass by Cory Murphy off of Matthew Lombardi, to put Canada up 1–0. Near the middle of the period, Eric Staal scored in similar fashion also on the powerplay, assisted by Justin Williams, and Mike Cammalleri. 9:11 into the second period, Colby Armstrong scored to give the Canadians a 3–0 lead. This goal ended up as the game winner. Finland had some discipline difficulty in the first two periods, taking 6 minutes apiece in penalties in both periods. Finland started to bring up the pressure in the last ten minutes, and Petri Kontiola scored a nice glove-side goal on Ward at 51:08 assisted by Ville Peltonen, to put the Finns on the board. Only with 3 minutes left Antti Miettinen scored to bring Finland within one, 3–2. However, only one minute later Rick Nash scored on a skillful breakaway to put the game away, 4–2 final for team Canada. The Canadians were outshot 22–18, but the Canadian goaltender, Cam Ward, kept them in the game as he was solid between the pipes. They also were able to capitalize on the powerplay, which ended up being decisive in the Canadian win. Kari Lehtonen was voted Tournaments best Goalkeeper.
At the 2008 IIHF World Championship, Finland achieved 3rd place winning the Bronze medal 4-0 against Sweden's national team.
At the 2010 Winter Olympics, Finland came away with 3rd place winning 5-3 against team Slovakia. During the tournament, Teemu Selänne of Finland became the all-time leader for points scored in the Olympics. He notched an assist in his second game of the tournament for 37 career points, surpassing Valeri Kharlamov of the Soviet Union, Vlastimil Bubník of Czechoslovakia, and Harry Watson of Canada.
At the 2011 IIHF World Championship, Finland won its second World Championship, beating the Swedish national team by a score of 6–1. As two highly ranked neighboring countries, Sweden and Finland have a long-running competitive tradition in ice hockey. Before the game, mainstream media in both countries titled the match "a dream final". After a goalless first period, Sweden opened the game with a 1–0 goal by Magnus Pääjärvi in the second period at 27:40. Seven seconds before the period's end, Finland's Jarkko Immonen scored to tie the game 1–1. Finland took the lead early in the third period, scoring two goals at 42:35 and 43:21 by Nokelainen and Kapanen. Sweden took a time-out before the last period's half but did not manage to regroup, and the tournament was decided by a clear 6–1 victory to Finland by Janne Pesonen's, Mika Pyörälä's and Pihlström goals.Team Finland's Jarkko Immonen led the Tournament in both goals and points scored with 9 and 12 respectively.
In recent years, Finland has been consistently ranked among the best teams in international hockey. Currently the team is ranked 2nd with 3345 points in the IIHF World Ranking.
Kurri is currently the general manager of the team.
|1956||did not participate|
Canada Cup record
- 1976 – Finished in 6th place
- 1981 – Finished in 6th place
- 1984 – Did not participate
- 1987 – Finished in 6th place
- 1991 – Finished in 3rd place
World Cup record
World championship record