Jortikka replaces Kivi

Finnish U20 team gets a new gold coach

17.06.2014
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Hannu Jortikka will be back behind the bench of the Finnish U20 national team after five years. Photo: Matthew Manor / HHOF-IIHF Images

HELSINKI – After winning the 2014 World Juniors with Finland, Karri Kivi accepted an offer to coach the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk. He will be succeeded by Hannu Jortikka.

Jortikka goes the opposite way and moves back to Finland after coaching KHL newcomer Admiral Vladivostok. He has been coaching in Russia’s Far East for three years where he was also behind the bench of Amur Khabarovsk.

“I’ve coached three years in Russia and it’s great to return to Finland and in particular to the ‘Young Lions’,” Jortikka said.

With Jortikka the Finnish U20 national team gets another coach with gold experience in that category. The 57-year-old led Finland to its first gold medal in any World Championship event when the U20 national team won the 1987 World Juniors in Czechoslovakia, although with a little help since Canada and the Soviet Union were disqualified following the infamous punch-up in Piestany.

Jortikka also coached the Finnish U20 national team in 1986 (6th), 1988 (3rd), 1990 (4th), 1997 (5th) and 2010 (5th).

He signed a two-year contract that covers not only the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, but also the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship on home ice in Helsinki.

The Finnish Ice Hockey Association also announced that Mika Marttila will coach the U18 national team. He previously coached the U18 team two times winning bronze each time in 2009 and 2013.

In women’s hockey the national team players will see new faces. Pasi Mustonen, the assistant coach of the Pelicans Lahti in the highest men’s league, signed a one-year contract as head coach of the women’s national team while Jari Risku will lead the U18 women’s national team.

MARTIN MERK

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