International Ice Hockey Federation

The professor is back

The professor is back

Finland: Westerlund takes over from Jalonen

Published 16.09.2013 15:37 GMT+3 | Author Risto Pakarinen
The professor is back
Erkka Westerlund returns as Finland's national team coach for the 2013/2014 season. Photo: Jukka Rautio / HHOF-IIHF Images
Erkka Westerlund is back. Finland's former national coach is now the current national coach, the Finnish Ice Hockey Association has announced.

Westerlund signed a one-year deal that sees him take over from Jukka Jalonen after the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. He will coach the national team in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk.

“It was a fantastic offer, I didn’t hesitate a moment. I’ve been a coach for 40 years, and when you get offered an opportunity like this, you can’t say no,” said Westerlund.

“It’s going to be a tough season, with both the Olympics and the World Championship, plus all the Euro Hockey Tour tournaments, so we’ll be busy from August all the way through May,” he said in an interview with MTV3.

Westerlund was Finland's head coach between 2005 and 2007, and guided the team to an Olympic final in 2006 and a World Championship final in 2007, and to a bronze medal finish at the 2006 World Championship in Riga.

Westerlund’s assistants will be Lauri Marjamäki, former head coach of the U20 national team and currently with Espoo Blues, and Hannu Virta, former national team player and Westerlund’s assistant both at Jokerit Helsinki in 2011/2012 and with the national team during Westerlund’s first tenure.

“We’re very pleased with the choice, and the assistants that Erkka chose,” said Kalervo Kummola, President of the Finnish Ice Hockey Association.

“This is a team, it’s an entity and I think we have a great coaching staff here, we all can focus on the things we're best at. This is not a one-man show,” said Westerlund.

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When Westerlund stepped down in 2007, he called the media circus around the national team “a Muppet show”, a quote that the reporters remembered well. He was asked about his motivation to return to the centre stage.

“I was about to begin this press conference by asking if all the muppets were here, but I didn’t have the guts,” said Westerlund, laughing.

“Let’s start a new show,” he added.


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