Defenseman Tarmo Reunanen was a lynchpin as a top four defenseman for a surprisingly good Finnish club at this year’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Never shying away from opposition shots or physical play, Reunanen consistently battled in the corners, came away with pucks, and headily moved them up to his forward teammates. He finished the tournament with one assist along with six penalty minutes in five games.
Hockey’s Future: Finland has played a pretty good tournament. Today you lost to rival Sweden. How are you feeling about everything right now?
Tarmo Reunanen: Of course, I’m feeling pretty disappointed. I think we played pretty well today, even if our second period could have been much better. Then the Swedish goalie played very well tonight. I think he was the best player in the game, for either team. That’s hockey and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Tomorrow is a new day and we don’t want to go home empty-handed. You always want to bring something with you. We’re definitely going to win tomorrow.
HF: So no matter who you play tomorrow, you’re taking that bronze medal with you. What would you say are your strengths as a player? What will you be able to contribute for that bronze medal game tomorrow?
TR: My strengths are my shooting, passing, and puck movement. I’m a defenseman who is strong in the transition game.
HF: Where will you be playing this season?
TR: I am not sure yet. I will maybe be playing for TPS Turku back home, which is my mother club, probably in the club’s U20 team. I’ll be doing my best to make the most of that opportunity and start working my way up into the men’s team.
HF: Will we be seeing you play internationally this winter?
TR: For sure, I would always play for Finland and when we play internationally, we always want to be the best in the world. This is our goal and it’s ultimately what we work for hard every day – our club and our country.
HF: This is your draft year. Any thoughts at this point on the NHL Draft next summer?
TR: Yes, of course. I will just be working as hard as I can to make myself into someone an NHL team wants to draft. I do want to be drafted – it’s a dream – but there are lots of games to be played before then and I have to play well, really well, and improve a lot before then.
HF: Who are your favorite players and role models?
TR: Defenseman Petteri Nummelin and center Saku Koivu. I also follow Duncan Keith a lot right now. He is a defenseman every young D-man should watch. But already at the age of three I watched Saku Koivu play in my hometown, where he and his family come from too, and I immediately liked him and his style. I liked how he plays the game. He’s a legend in my country and in my town.
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