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Up to date as of February 02, 2010

An Ice Hockey Wiki article.

City: Tampere, Finland
League: SM-liiga
Founded: 1931 (1931)
Home Arena: Tampereen jäähalli (capacity 7,800)
Colors: Green, Black, Yellow
Head Coach: Heikki Mälkiä
General Manager: Esa Honkalehto

Ilves ("Lynx") is a Finnish sports club nowadays mostly known for their ice hockey team in the SM-liiga. They play in Tampere, Finland at the Tampereen jäähalli in Hakametsä. Ilves is Finnish for lynx.

The colors of Ilves, green, yellow and black, were taken from what was then the coat of arms of the city of Tampere.



With 16 championships, Ilves is the most successful team in the Finnish championship league, the SM-liiga. The club was founded in the spring of 1931 and they played their first game against Tampereen Palloilijat the next winter. In the late 1930s, Ilves won three Finnish championship titles.

After the Second World War, Ilves started playing their home games at the then new Koulukatu ice rink. They had another championship spree in 1945–47 when they stayed undefeated for over four years (albeit playing only 36 games during that period).

In 1954 Ilves was for the first and so far only time relegated to the second highest level of Finnish hockey but managed to return to the top tier only one year later.

The current logo was designed by Rauno Broms in 1963. In 1965 Ilves moved, along with their local rivals Tappara and Koovee, to the new Hakametsä arena where they still play.

The last Finnish Cup competition in hockey was held in 1971. Ilves won the title and has therefore been the reigning champion since. In 1972 they also won another league championship, their 15th in total.

During the late 1970s, Ilves went through lean times. Finally, when Koovee, which was in no better condition, was relegated at the end of the 1979–80 season, the two clubs decided to sign an agreement of co-operation. The best players of Koovee moved to Ilves, the most notable of them being Risto Jalo.

File:Ilves banners.jpg
Banners commemorating championships and retired player numbers of Ilves in Tampereen jäähalli.
In 1985, Ilves claimed their 16th and most recent championship. Along with Risto Jalo, the key players of that team were Raimo Helminen, Mikko Mäkelä, Ville Siren and Jukka Tammi. Repeating this success proved difficult, however, when in the following summer four players left the team to play in the NHL.

In the late '80s, Ilves had another brief stint of moderate success when coached by Sakari Pietilä. They finished first after the regular season in 1988 but were eliminated in the first round of playoffs. The next year they came away with a bronze medal, and finally in 1990 they reached the finals, only to lose to TPS.

For most of the 1990s the club struggled with financial problems and unclear issues concerning ownership. In sports performance the low point was in the spring of 1995 when Ilves finished last in the SM-liiga and had to fight the lower league teams Savonlinnan Pallokerho and Saimaan Pallo for their place among the elite for the next year.

Ilves managed to avoid relegation and was promptly reborn as a viable championship candidate, reaching the semifinals in 1997 and the finals a year after that. No trophies were brought home, however, and the heavy financial investments proved unsound as the club was suddenly facing the risk of bankruptcy in the fall of 1999. By selling players and cutting the wages of the entire organization, Ilves was able to stay afloat.

The 2000s have so far been a fairly mediocre period in Ilves history, with the high point being a bronze medal won in 2001. In 2003 Ilves again finished last in the league but was in no risk of relegation as the league was at that time closed. After that the team has consistently finished in the middle of the standings, being eliminated in the first or second round of the playoffs. The financial situation, however, seems to be more secure than in previous decades.


Ilves is the most decorated club in Finnish hockey. In addition to having won more men's championship titles than any other club, they also have that distinction in every junior level (with the exception of junior C (U-16) where Jokerit has one more), and also the most women's hockey championships. In total, Ilves has won 67 national championship titles which is 30 more than the second best has.

In the SM-liiga (and the preceding SM-sarja), Ilves has won the following medals:

  • Gold (16 total): 1936, 1937, 1938, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1966, 1972, and 1985
  • Silver (9 total): 1935, 1948, 1949, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1990, and 1998
  • Bronze (12 total): 1934, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1974, 1975, 1983, 1989, and 2001

Head coaches

  • Niilo Tammisalo 1931–37
  • Risto Lindroos 1937–41, 1942–46, 1949–53
  • Aarne Honkavaara 1952–61, 1967–68
  • Henry Kvist 1946–49
  • Seppo Helle 1961–64
  • Rauli Virtanen 1964–65
  • Erkki Koiso 1965–66
  • Raimo Vasama 1968–71, 1972–75
  • Juhani Ruusunen 1971–72, 1976–80
  • Len Lunde 1972–73
  • Matti Reunamäki 1974–75
  • Esko Mäkinen 1974–76
  • Raimo Määttänen 1980–82
  • Seppo Hiitelä 1982–87, 1990–91
  • Matti Kaario 1986–87, 1990–91, 1999*
  • Sakari Pietilä 1987–90, 2006–2009
  • Anatoli Bogdanov 1991–93
  • Jukka Jalonen 1992–95
  • Heikki Vesala 1994–95
  • Vladimir Jursinov jr. 1995–99
  • Heikki Mälkiä 1999–2001, 2009-
  • Ari-Pekka Selin 2001–03
  • Teijo Räsänen 2002–03
  • Vaclav Sykora 2003–05
  • Curt Lindström 2004–05
  • Kari Eloranta 2005–06
  • Petteri Hirvonen 2006*

The seasons 1939–40 and 1941–42 were cancelled because of the war.

  • ) Interim coach

External links

  • Ilves (the whole sports organization) official web site
  • Ilves (ice-hockey) official web site
This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Ilves. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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


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