HELSINKI – Ville Peltonen ends his playing career where it all began, with IFK Helsinki, and will be one of Kari Jalonen’s assistant coaches on the Finnish national team.
After 22 years as a professional player, the 41-year-old winger quits. During his career he played eight NHL seasons, nine full years in the top Finnish league, three in Switzerland and one each in Sweden and the KHL. During the last four years he captained the club where he had once turned from junior to pro, IFK Helsinki.
For the Finnish national team he played in four Olympic Winter Games winning one silver and three bronze medals, and in 13 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships. He was on the team that claimed the first world title for Finland in 1995 and also won four silver and three bronze medals in World Championship play.
After announcing his retirement as a player last spring, Peltonen turns to coaching. He accepted the role as head coach of IFK Helsinki’s U20 team and on Thursday he was named assistant coach of the Finnish men’s national team.
He enters the staff of national team head coach Kari Jalonen, who was named Erkka Westerlund’s successor already one year ago, and will be joined by Lauri Marjamaki, who has been an assistant coach with the national team for one year. Marjamaki will continue to coach Karpat Oulu, the team he led to the Finnish title this year.
The Finnish Ice Hockey Association also named Jere Lehtinen new General Manager of the national team. The only Finnish player who has won both the World Championship and the Stanley Cup takes over from Jari Kurri. Kari Savolainen was named new Team Manager. He was most recently on the staff of the Slovenian national team.
The Finnish team will have the first tournament under its new leadership on home ice during the Karjala-turnaus that will take place in Helsinki, 6-9 November.
The season for the national team will conclude with a highlight as the recent silver medallist will play Russia, the United States, Slovakia, Norway, Belarus, Slovenia and Denmark in Group B of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic.