New man on the job
New man on the job
Finnish coach Kari Jalonen visits Ostrava
The Finns will play their group stage games in Ostrava, which includes defending world champions Russia. The delegation wanted to visit the ČEZ Arena, where all the group games will be played, and found out which dressing room is going to be theirs.
The Finnish delegation had have never been in Ostrava before, so they looked around the city and checked out their hotel. All this information should help them to be successful in the tournament. They will also rely on support from their fans, who always travel in large numbers wherever the World Championships are held.
How was your visit to Ostrava? Are you satisfied?
Yeah, I am satisfied, really. We checked the arena and we found out our dressing room, so we could get the entire picture. We've got a very good locker room and I’m really happy about that. Of course, we also found our hotel. Then we were able to do a tour of the town and see what’s going on in this town. We’re really satisfied with what we’ve seen here. I’m very happy I came to this town, it was my first visit to Ostrava.
You coached the Czech KHL team Lev Prague last season, so you know something about the Czech Republic. Can that experience help you with preparing your team?
I have good memories of last season. I lived for eight months in Prague, so I know the lifestyle here. Everything is good here, especially the food – it’s very tasty. And I found out that Vaclav Sykora is going to be our host here during the tournament, so everything is good.
Do you know some Czech words?
“Dobre rano”, “diky”, “prosim”. But I didn’t have time to learn Czech. I don’t know more easy words.
Do you have any exact goal for this Championship?
We have to go step by step, but of course we want to play on the final day of the tournament in Prague. First, we have to finish in the top four in our group and then continue in Prague. We have the dream like everyone else - we dream of playing in the final.
Czech coach Vladimir Ruzicka says he wants to give a chance to some younger players. Finland won the World Junior Championship last year. Are you planning to use any of the players from that team?
For sure, if we find some good young players, we will give them a chance in the Karjala Cup, in Sochi and at the Swedish Games. But it’s really tough to say right now how many young players we will have in Ostrava and Prague. We will see. We have to do our jobs and watch our players in Finland, Russia and North America. And in the end we will know the final roster.
What about players from the NHL? Do you know how many players you would like to have on your team?
We don’t know yet. We have to follow the season. We have to follow those teams whose are not making the playoffs and see if there are any Finnish players - and then ask the players if they want to help the team and come.
Do you expect that lots of Finnish fans will come to support you?
For sure, I think a lot of Finnish fans are coming here. Usually 10 to 15 thousand fans follow the national team. And I think it’s going to happen here too.
The Champions Hockey League group stage finished yesterday and Finnish clubs did very well. Did you watch any of the games?
Yeah, I watched several games, maybe seven or eight of them. It looked good, a lot of teams from different countries. Now, the best 16 teams will play in the playoffs and we will see who the winner will be. But it was a good start for the Champions League.
Were there any players who caught your attention?
No, I can’t mention any name. But we discovered many new players in the Champions League. We have two or three weeks and then we will have to pick the team for the Karjala Cup.
You have a strong generation of goaltenders in their primes right now. Can you tell me the secret behind this success?
It’s the history of Finnish hockey. We’ve always had good goalies and that continues. We have good young goalies, a lot of goalies in North America, very good goalies in the KHL and in our league too. That’s a good position to be in.
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