There was a time when Peter Forsberg was Hannu Aravirta’s worst nightmare. Like in 2003, when Forsberg led Sweden to a 6-5 win in the World Championship in Helsinki, having been down 5-1 against Aravirta-coached Finnish national team.
In 2010, their paths cross again, but this time Forsberg is the dream of Aravirta as he takes on the duties as head coach of MODO Örnsköldsvik in the Swedish Elitserien.
MODO is currently ninth in the standings, with eight points to the last playoff spot.
“Our position in the standings says it all: the team is not getting the results we’d like. (Former head coach) Miloslav Horava has told us that he’d like to return to the Czech Republic for personal reasons while we have also concluded that we need a change behind the bench,” says MODO’s manager Fredrik Andersson.
“Hannu Aravirta is a great leader and a coach, and we believe he’s exactly what this team needs right now,” he added.
Aravirta will take over the team on Wednesday and will be behind the bench in MODO’s game against Timrå on Thursday. Former NHLer Thomas Steen will stay on as assistant coach. Peter Forsberg is expected to return to the lineup earliest at the end of the week.
Aravirta, Team Finland head coach between 1997 and 2003, and assistant coach between 1993 and 1997, began his season as the head coach of Jokerit Helsinki in the Finnish SM-liiga but was fired in late November when Jokerit was the last-place team in the league. He’s won three silver World Championship medals as head coach of Team Finland, a World Championship gold and a bronze as well as an Olympic bronze (1994) as an assistant, two Finnish titles with Jokerit in 1994 and 1996, in addition to the three silvers and two bronzes during his years as head coach of Jokerit, JYP Jyväskylä and HIFK Helsinki in the SM-liiga.