Espoo Blues

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Espoo Blues
Espoo Blues.svg
City Espoo, Finland
League Liiga
Founded 1984 (1984)
Home arena Barona Areena (capacity 7,017)
Colours               
Owner(s) Jääkiekko Espoo Oy
Website Espoo Blues
Franchise history
1984–1998 Kiekko-Espoo
1998–2016 Espoo Blues

The Espoo Blues were an ice hockey team in the SM-liiga. They played in Espoo, Finland, at the Barona Areena. The club went bankrupt at the end of the 2015–16 Liiga season.

History[edit]

The club was established in February 1984 as Kiekko-Espoo and played their first season in 1984–85 in the Finnish Second Division. In 1988, they achieved promotion to the Finnish First Division and in 1992 celebrated their promotion to the SM-liiga by beating Joensuun Kiekkopojat with a 3–2 series win in a best-of-five format. Tero Lehterä scored the winning goal and Jere Lehtinen assisted.

Kiekko-Espoo ended its first two seasons in SM-liiga in 11th place within 12 teams. In the 1994–95 season, the team made playoffs for the first time, losing to Lukko in quarter-finals. In 1997–98, Kiekko-Espoo caused huge upset by beating regular season winner TPS in the quarter-finals. Kiekko-Espoo ended the season in fourth place. In the next summer, the team name was changed. The name came from the dominant colour of their home jersey.

During the 1998–99 season, the team moved to its current home, LänsiAuto Areena (renamed in 2009 to Barona Areena due to sponsorship change). The first seasons in their new home were difficult despite the team signing many big names. Blues missed the playoffs in 2001 and 2005. In 2002–03, Blues had its best regular season, finishing in fourth place, only to lose against eventual champions Tappara in overtime of the seventh quarter-final.

The team took a step forward in 2006–07 when they reached the semi-finals for the first time, although they lost against Kärpät straight in three games, and the bronze medal game against HPK. During the 2007–08 season, Blues set a new team record by winning 12 games in a row. They finally ended the regular season in second place and beat local rivals HIFK in the quarter-finals and other local rivals Jokerit in the semi-finals, proceeding to the finals and thus ensuring their first medal ever. The team eventually ended up second after losing the finals to Kärpät.

In the next season, the team was again second after the regular season, but lost against Kärpät in the semi-finals, as well as the bronze medal game against KalPa. The season also included participation to the Champions Hockey League, where Blues lost in the semi-finals against eventual champions ZSC Lions of Switzerland. The 2009–10 season was difficult for the team, and Blues failed to reach quarter-finals. In 2010–11, the team ended the regular season in ninth place and then beat eighth-placed Kärpät in the wild card round of the playoffs. The team then made history be becoming the first team in the SM-liiga to advance from the wild card round to the semi-finals, eventually beating Ässät in six games. In the semi-finals, Blues continued upsets and beat regular season winners JYP in five games. In the finals, HIFK swept the series in four games, and Blues was awarded the silver medal for the second time in team history.

In the 2011–12 season, Blues finished eighth in the regular season. After beating Lukko in the wild card round, team faced KalPa in the quarter-finals. Blues made history again, becoming the first team in SM-liiga history to win the series after being down 0–3. In the semi-finals, Pelicans beat Blues 4–1.

Honors[edit]

Champions[edit]

  • A-juniors (20-year-olds) (4): 1989, 1990, 2009, 2014
  • B-juniors (18-year-olds) (3): 1988, 1993, 2011
  • C-juniors (16-year-olds) (3): 2011, 2012, 2014
  • Aaro Kivilinna Memorial Trophy (7): 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Runners-up[edit]

Players[edit]

Honored members[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Captains history[edit]

16 players have been named Captain of the team.

Head coaches[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]