Puckarinen Hits A Post
Entries with the tag: Worlds
I remember driving past my Dad’s appliance store in the 1970s and seeing crowds of people gathered outside, watching the World Championship games on one of the sets Dad had left on for that purpose. It’s pretty cold in Finland in the spring, and back in the 1970s, the World Championship was played in early April. But what’s a couple of hours outside when you can spend it with your buddies or future-buddies watching hockey?
It used to be that Finnish kids grew up dreaming about playing for their country, and maybe winning medals at the World Championships and the Olympics. I still don’t know when it changed. Now we all know - and accept the fact - that winning the Stanley Cup is everybody’s dream.
On May 20, in some European capital*, people will be storming the streets, bathing in the city’s fountains, and dressing up statues with their national team hockey sweaters. They’ll be driving up and down the streets, honking their horns, with their flags sticking out of the car windows, waving in the wind. People will be singing national anthems in unison, and they will be screaming the names of their hockey heroes to nobody in particular.
That’s what winning the hockey World Championship does to people.
On May 7, 1995, Ville Peltonen, the son of a Finnish national team player Esa, had a big dream come true. Anyone who’s ever played road hockey has also dreamed about scoring that Stanley Cup winning goal, or becoming a new Paul Henderson (or his equivalent in your country) by scoring a big goal for the national team.
Some of us take it a step further, and dream of scoring a hat trick.
And for some, the dreams do come true, because that’s exactly what Peltonen, then 21, did. He scored a hat trick in the 1995 World Championship final, as Finland beat Sweden 4-1. What made his hat trick a once-in-a-lifetime moment was the fact that that had also been a million other people’s dream, and for a good portion of Finns, an impossible dream.
In six months, Sweden and Finland will co-host the 2012 World Championships. Hartwall Areena in Helsinki is the main venue, and therefore the host for the final rounds of the tournament, while the Globe Arena in Sweden will host the group that Sweden plays its preliminary round games - as well as the quarterfinals.
In 2013, the roles will be reversed, and Stockholm will be the main venue, and Helsinki the other one.
This way, both Finland and Sweden will get to play most of the next World Championships on home ice – which is nice.