He played top-level ice hockey in Finland from 1957 to 1971 and in 200 games racked up 219 points including 139 goals. In 1960 he won the Finnish championship with Ilves Tampere but spent most of his years as a player and coach with TPS Turku, where his number 8 was retired.
Internationally he represented Finland in 115 international games (33 goals, 62 points), in his last years in the late ‘60s as captain. He represented Finland in three Olympic Winter Games and five World Championships.
In those years Finland wasn’t among the world’s leading nations yet – the first medal for the men’s national team came at the 1988 Olympics – but Wahlsten was on the team that finished the 1962 Worlds in fourth place had his best moment at the 1967 World Championship in Austria where he was named best player of his team. In Vienna he scored two goals in Finland’s first ever win (3-1) over powerhouse Czechoslovakia – a memorable game for Finnish hockey that will always be associated with Wahlsten.
Later he moved abroad to play one season in Austria winning the championship with Klagenfurt in 1970 and coached TPS Turku back home but also in Barcelona (Spain), Fussen (Germany) and Davos (Switzerland) as well as the U20 national team at the 1983 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was working several years in youth hockey in Turku for Lokit with six of his players making it to the NHL.
Wahlsten, a sport teacher by profession, did not only coach back home and abroad but also shared his knowledge in and outside of Finland with valuable coaching material and had a vast international network.
He was inducted into the second class of the Finnish Hall of Fame in 1986 as number 43 and entered the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2006.
His two sons Jali and Sami also played top-level hockey in Finland. Both represented the country at World Junior Championships and won one championship together with Jokerit Helsinki in 1992.