|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2015)|
|Home arena||Oulun Energia Areena (capacity 6,614)|
|General manager||Ilkka Räisänen|
|Head coach||Lauri Marjamäki|
Oulun Kärpät (Finnish for Oulu Ermines) is a Finnish professional ice hockey team in the Liiga based in Oulu and owned by Kärppä Säätiö of the Kärppä Foundation. They are the current Finnish champions after winning both the league and play-off final for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 seasons.
In the spring of 1946, three young men decided to found a new sports club in Oulu. At the constitutional meeting on May 15, the club was named Oulun Kärpät 46. At first, Kärpät played football (soccer) and its first winter sport was bandy.
In the first annual meeting in January 1947, an ice hockey section was established. At the beginning of the new decade, Kärpät was somewhat successful in ice hockey and it became the main sport of the club. The first game at the highest level was played on the December 4, 1960, against HJK of Helsinki, but the visit to the highest level was short and Kärpät lost their position in the series. They made it to the highest level again in 1965–66, but again lost their position. The third try in 1967–68 did not produce a better performance, as Kärpät lost all their games.
From the first years on, junior work was important for Kärpät. E-juniors won the first Finnish Championship for Kärpät in the spring of 1971. When the SM-liiga was founded in August 1975, Kärpät started in the first division. Their goal was to rise to the league. It didn’t happen in the first season, but instead in 1976. In the next season, Kärpät was seventh and then last, but they still remained at the league with ease. After Kärpät acquired more skilled players, they won the bronze medals in 1980.
In the following year, Kärpät was third in the regular series but in the finals they defeated Tappara. The next year, the weakened team had to settle for fifth place, and the following year, they were nearly relegated. With a new coach, the team's goal was to win a medal, and finally Kärpät won the bronze. The next goal was to win the championship, but Kärpät only managed to get bronze for the following two years. Kärpät won the regular series in 1987, but lost to Tappara in the finals. Hopes were high for the next season, but Kärpät fell from the league. In the 2005 finals, Kärpät beat Jokerit in Helsinki to win their second consecutive championship with a 3–1 series win. Kärpät facing off against Espoo Blues in the 2006 playoffs.
The goal was to rise again shortly, but it did not work out. Due to financial constraints, Kärpät went into bankruptcy, but in the fall of 1995, they made it to the first division again. In the first year, they came eighth and lost in the playoffs. The next year, they went against KalPa for a place in the league, but ultimately lost. In the following year, they again lost to KalPa. For the 1998–99 season, Kärpät acquired coach Juhani Tamminen. After they played very well in the regular series, they lost to TuTo in the playoffs.
The next year, Kärpät finally qualified to the SM-liiga by beating Lahti Pelicans in the qualification series. The first season in the elite league was full of ups-and-downs, but Kärpät finished fourth and sixth in successive seasons. They then finally made it to the finals, but lost to Tappara, similar to in 1987. In the 2003–04 season, Kärpät played in the finals against TPS and finally won their second Finnish Championship. In 2004–05, Kärpät won the Finnish Championship again when they defeated Jokerit in the finals, winning the best-of-five series 3–1. They retained the championship title in the 2006–07 season by beating Jokerit in the finals (3–0) and winning all their games in the playoffs. The first three championships of the 2000s have been celebrated in Oulu with feasts, each gathering tens of thousands of people to rejoice. In the 2007–08 season, the organization won its second consecutive championship title, and the fourth within the last five years, by defeating Espoo Blues in the finals, 4–1.
After a 6 year wait, in 2013-14 and 2014-15 Kärpät won two more consecutive championship titles after defeating Tappara in the play-off finals both times to bring their total championships to seven.
Updated September 14, 2014.
- Niklas Bäckström (2002–2006)
- Hannes Hyvönen (1994, 2006–2008)
- Jussi Jokinen (2001–2005, 2012–2013)
- Lasse Kukkonen (1999–2003, 2004–2006, 2013–present)
- Janne Niinimaa (1991–1993, 2004–2005)
- Joni Pitkänen (2000–2003)
- Pekka Rinne (2003–2005)
- Reijo Ruotsalainen (1975–1981, 1993, 1996–1998)
- Tim Thomas (2001–2002)
- Kyle Turris (2012)
- Ivan Huml (2011–present)
- Kamil Kreps (2010–2011)
- Kari Jalonen (1978–1982, 1985–1987, 1993)
- Niklas Hagman (1999–2001)
- Jason Demers (2012–2013)
- Ilkka Räisänen (1997-2000)
- Lasse Pirjetä (1991–1993, 2001–2002)
- Kai Suikkanen (1976–1981, 1983–1990)
- Tomáš Plíhal (2012–2013)
- Mikko Lehtonen (1999–2006, 2007–2008, 2009–present)
- Josef Boumedienne (2004–2005, 2006–2007, 2013)
- Jozef Stümpel (2012)
- Pavel Rosa (2009–2011)
- Petr Tenkrát (2002–2006, 2010–2011)
- Jonathan Hedström (2010)
- Martin St. Pierre (2010)
- Dmitri Yushkevich (2009–2010)
- Lukáš Kašpar (2009–2010)
- Denis Shvidki (2009)
- Jonas Andersson (2008–2009)
- Martti Järventie (2008–2009)
- Daniel Corso (2008–2009)
- Toni Dahlman (2008–2009)
- Mikael Granlund (2009)
- Andy Chiodo (2008)
- Kari Haakana (2008)
- Jere Karalahti (2007)
- Ivan Majesky (2006–2007)
- Hannes Hyvönen (1993–1994, 2006–2008)
- Janne Pesonen (2001–2008)
- Ross Lupaschuk (2006–2007)
- Michael Nylander (2004)
- Zdeněk Nedvěd (2004)
- Jason Dawe (2003)
- Mika Pyörälä (2001–2007, 2013–present)
- Brad Smyth (2003–2004)
- Drew Bannister (2002–2003)
- Evgeny Davydov (2001)
- Jeff Hamilton (2001–2002)
- Esa Pirnes (1995–1999)
- Ilkka Sinisalo (1993–1994)
- Johan Backlund (2012–2013)
- "Joukkue - Oulun Kärpät" (in Finnish). www.oulunkarpat.fi. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kärpät.|
- Kärpät official web site (Finnish)
- Kärpät junior official web site (Finnish)
- Kärpät official fan club
- Meltzer, Bill. NHL.com 'Across the Pond', article about Kärpät