June 12, 1973|
|Height||5 ft 4 in (163 cm)|
|Weight||132 lb (60 kg; 9 st 6 lb)|
Hanna-Riikka Välilä (née Nieminen, born June 12, 1973) is a Finnish female ice hockey player. She plays on the Finnish women's national team most notably appearing at the 1998 Winter Olympics and the 2018 Winter Olympics, winning a bronze medal at both events, and the 2002 Olympics. Nieminen-Välilä was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame on 21 May 2010 in Cologne, Germany, as part of the World Championship festivities. She was only the fourth woman to receive this honor. Nieminen was born in Jyväskylä.
Her bronze medal with Finland at the 2018 Olympics made her the oldest ice hockey medallist at a Winter Olympics, at age 44, 20 years after she first won a medal in the first women's Olympic hockey tournament.
Riikka Nieminen-Välilä represented Finland in three IIHF Women’s European Championships, four IIHF World Women’s Championships, and three Olympics. In her first Olympics in 1998 that she would lead the tournament in scoring, amassing 12 points (7 goals & 5 assists) in six games, while leading the Finnish team to the Bronze Medal. Nieminen-Välilä would also lead the Finnish national team to three European Championship titles and four IIHF World Women’s Championship bronze medals.
Over her international career she would score 109 goals, 95 assists for 204 points while accumulating only 24 PIMs.
In August 2013, the IIHF reported that she was attempting a comeback. and in December 2013 following several matches in the Finnish league she was selected for the Finnish women's team for the Sochi Olympics. She made the Finnish Olympic team again for the 2018 Olympics, helping Finland to a bronze medal.
Awards and honours
|Aurora Borealis Trophy (Finnish champion)||1989, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2016|
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Riikka Välilä". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Finland Ice Hockey at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 13 March 2009.
- "IIHF Hall of Fame inducts six new members". National Hockey League. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
- "Winter Olympics: Finland beat OAR 3-2 to claim women's ice hockey bronze". BBC. February 21, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
- "IIHF Hall welcomes five". International Ice Hockey Federation. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
- Risto Pakarinen (2013-08-13). "Välilä makes comeback". International Ice Hockey Federation. Archived from the original on 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
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