Linda Valimaki retires
by Martin Merk|24 JUL 2019
Linda Valimaki lets go a shot at one of her last career games at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
The skates to the nail, the game is over. That was today’s message of Linda Valimaki. She is the third Finnish women’s national team player after Venla Hovi and Riikka Sallinen who has recently decided to end her career after its highlight, a silver medal at the recent 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship on home ice in Espoo.

Valimaki said that she couldn’t find the fire she needed to continue as a top athlete but will remain involved in the game working in girls’ hockey.

“I’m really grateful how many friends I made in ice hockey, how many countries I was able to go to play, as well as the broad range of emotions that I have experienced as a hockey player,” Valimaki said.
This is what it looked like when 1990-born Valimaki started playing ice hockey. A couple of years later she was part of the first class of players who participated in the inaugural IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship in 2008 where she led the Finns in scoring with five goals and seven points.

Two years later she made it to the first big event with the senior team and won Olympic bronze in Vancouver 2010. She would continue to win two more bronze medals in the Women’s Worlds in 2015 and 2017 as well as at the 2018 Olympics. The highlight came last April when Finland historically eliminated Canada in the semi-finals of the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship on home ice in Espoo and was just a short step away from winning gold before losing the final to the United States in a shootout.

Until the age of 28 Valimaki played in four Women’s World Championships and two Olympic Winter Games.

She was one of the top offensive players in Finland where she spent most of her career with Ilves Tampere and Espoo, winning five national championships.

Between 2010 and 2018 she was named best forward of the league four times, was five times the Finnish women’s league’s scoring leader and even six times the top goal scorer of the league.
Linda Valimaki talks to the Finnish broadcaster after a Women’s World Championship game.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images