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Ice Hockey

Up to date as of February 02, 2010

An Ice Hockey Wiki article.

Aarne Honkavaara (b. June 7th 1924 in Tampere, Western Finland, Finland) is a former Finnish player.

Contents

Playing career

Honkavaara began playing ice hockey at a high level near the end of the 1940s for his local club, Ilves Tampere. His first season (1943-44) was cacelled after five matches because of World War II; the next one only lasted three games, long enough for Honkavaara to score seven goals and three assists. His first full season was 1945-46; even though full seasons back then only lasted eight games, Honkavaara nevertheless managed to score 25 times and add 10 assists. He would play until 1952, without ever failing to maintain his points per match average above 1.

In 1950, Honkavaara made a historical first by crossing the Atlantic Ocean to join a professional team, the Sarnia Sailors of the International Hockey League, becoming the first Finn to do so. Despite his skills, Honkavaara only took part in two exhibition matches before going back home in Finland. The official reason given was the problems for him to get a work permit, but the official reason is believed to be the anti-foreign policies of the club management, common around those years. He nevertheless acquired a knowledge he would use in his career.

Behind the bench

Honkavaara was forced to retired in 1953 after a severe injury suffered during an international match against Poland. He accepted his club's offer, who wanted him to returnm as player-coach; his presence helped Ilves return back to the Finnish Elite. In total, Aarne won seven national titles as a player and three as a coach, all of the with Ilves Tampere.

He also participated to three international tournaments with the Finnish National Team: the 1949 and 1951 World Championships and the 1952 Olympics. In 47 international games, he scored 46 times and had 12 assists: he is still the recordman for the better goal per match ratio of the national Finnish team.

Additionally to his head coach role with Ilves, Honkavaara coached the Leijonat between 1954 and 1959; he then stepped out as a head coach but remained around, being Joe Wirkkunen's assistant at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics, as well as the 1963, 1965 and 1966 World Championships.

His legacy

Aarne Honkavaara is considered by many as perhaps the best Finnish hockey player ever; he certainly was one of the pioneers of ice hockey in Finland in the pre- and post-war eras. In 1985, he was inducted to the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1987, he was awarded a special prize by the Lynces Academici; no one else earned that honnor. Nowadays, one of the SM-Liiga trophies sport his name: the Aarne Honkavaara Trophy is awarded to the league's best scorer.

Career stats

Season  Team           League   GP   G  A  TP PIM 
1943-44 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga  3   7  2   9  0 
1944-45 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga  3   7  3  10  0 
1945-46 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga  8  25 10  35  0 
1946-47 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga  8  25  9  34  0 
1947-48 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga  6  20  3  23  0 
1948-49 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga  6  18  5  23  0 
1 9 4 9 Finland           WC     4   6  0   6  - 
1949-50 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga  7  11 10  21  0 
1950-51 Sarnia Sailors   IHL     -   -  -   -  -
1950-51 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga 10  20 14  34  2 
1 9 5 1 Finland           WC     ?   ?  ?   ?  ?
1951-52 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga  5  10  4  14  2 
1 9 5 2 Finland           OG     8   2  2   4  0 
1956-57 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga  5   0  1   1  0 
1957-58 Ilves Tampere  SM-Liiga  1   0  0   0  0 
Totals  SM-Liiga:               62 143 61 204  4
        International:          47  46 12  58  ?

This article uses material from the "Aarne Honkavaara" article on the Ice Hockey wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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