Finland’s golden coach stays
by Martin Merk|30 AUG 2019
Jukka Jalonen led Finland as head coach to two of its three IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship titles, most recently last May in Bratislava.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
He led Finland to gold at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships in 2011 and 2019 – and he will remain head coach of the Finnish national team.

Jukka Jalonen and the Finnish Ice Hockey Association extended the contract until May 2022 when Finland will host the Worlds on home ice.

“Coaching a national team is an honour for any coach. It’s great to be able to work with the top players in your country at the international top level of the sport. Now there are tremendous events ahead with the pinnacle in 2022 with the Olympics and the World Championship,” Jalonen said.

“Jukka Jalonen was our first choice and we are extremely pleased that an agreement was found. This solution will bring continuity to the national team,” said FIHA Chairman Harri Nummela.

Jalonen first joined the coaching staff as assistant coach for the 2007/2008 season and then became head coach for the following five years leading Finland to the 2011 world title. His success as a coach made him a Finnish Hall of Fame member already in 2012 when he was 50 years old – but more success was yet to come.

After two years as head coach of SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League he returned to Finland and led the U20 national team to gold at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship on home ice in Helsinki. He then coached Finnish KHL team Jokerit Helsinki for two seasons before returning as head coach of the men’s national team for the 2018/2019 season and leading the team to gold at the recent 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Both times he led Finland to gold in the Slovak capital of Bratislava – and he was behind the bench of two of Finland’s three world titles.

The reigning world champion will also continue with the entire coaching staff including assistant coaches Mikko Manner (Karpat Oulu), Antti Pennanen (Hameenlinna), goaltending coach Kari Lehtonen (KooKoo Kouvola) and video coach Janne Hietaniemi (Jokerit Helsinki). Jere Lehtinen continues as general manager and Mika Kortelainen (IFK Helsinki) as team leader.

The national team will first convene for the Karjala Tournament where Finland will host the Czech Republic, Russia and Sweden from 7 to 10 November 2019 in Helsinki.

Finland will play the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Switzerland in Group B in Zurich that also includes Russia, the United States, Switzerland, Latvia, Norway, Italy and Kazakhstan.