I recently had a chance to interview Jere Kolari, a Finnish, Kuopio born player who is now chasing his dream in WHL playing for the Lethbrigde Hurricanes. Usually it’s players from Russia, Slovakia and Czech reb. who want to make the jump to North-American junior hockey. The Finns and Swedes have traditionally chosen to play in their own junior leagues. Jere made a bold move this past year and left hometown Kuopio. He was drafted in the 1st round of 1999 import draft. This year he’s been plagued with various injuries (concussion, knee) in the preseason.
Let’s hear what Jere has to say about this upcoming season and his future:
Question (by Zika): So tell us about yourself? Who are you?
Answer (by Jere Kolari): I’m Jere Kolari, born in the 11th of February 1982. I’m 6’1 tall and weigh 180 pounds. I play hockey as a centerman/winger and I shoot right handed.
Q: So when did you start playing hockey?
A: I was about 7 years old, the reason, was that all my friends played it and it was so fun.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a hockey player?
A: Well my strength is that I have a good shot and hockey sense, but obviously there’s still a lot of work I need to do on all areas to improve my game. I really should improve my skating.
Q: How has your hockey career been so far?
It was clear before the game that Kärpät will win, but not many people
believed it would be with such a big score. Kärpät has now scored 26 goals
in 3 games, has shut-outed opponent in both home-games, and still they
aren’t leading, because of harmful 6-6 tie with Diskos last week. In
scoring, there are 6 Kärppä players in best 7. (Martin Bergeron 4+4=8,
Vjateslav Fandul 3+4=7, Miikka Rousu 3+3=6, Sakari Palsola 3+3=6, Kimmo
Salminen 2+4=6 and Juha Joenväärä 1+5=6)
Today there was only one team on ice. Kärpät was better in everything, FPS
had given up before the game had started, and they were just standing and
waiting for game to end. FPS didn’t have a single good scoring chance. It
seemed that all Kärppä-players were playing great, but maybe it is because
of weak opponent, who were always at least two steps behind. Kärpät
dominated the game completely, shot 46 times, FPS had only 14 shots. Kärpät
should make the first pass in own zone a little faster, so they could move
to offense more quickly.
Kärpät had good scoring chances, but the game was played over 8 minutes,
until the red light turned on for the first time. The goal was scored by
Miikka Rousu, who went around FPS-defenseman, and shot to top-corner. Soon
Kärpät got 2-man advantage, and Juha Joenväärä put the rebound in, 2-0. Read more»
At first it looked like a good game but it turned out not to be so good. Kärpät played very well in the first period, but the 3-0 lead came too easily, and more or less Kärpät stopped playing and started to surf around the rink waiting for the final buzzer. It was much easier for Sport to get back in the game, and in second and third period, Sport was the better team on the ice.
Luckily for Kärpät, the crushing start was enough. Kärpät had a few
break-aways in the third period, but didn’t manage to score. Both teams
must improve their play as soon as the season starts.
It was a weak game by Karpat, and the stronger team showed how to play. Karpat Didn’t skate at all, although they are a faster team than HIFK. Anyway, HIFK had at least 15 great scoring chances, including five or so breakaways, so there was no doubt which was the better team on the ice today. Karpat-defense was simply pathetic. Even on the power-play, HIFK had three consecutive 2 on 1 attacks. With a little more accuracy, HIFK could have easily scored over ten goals, especially because Antti Kangas on Karpat-net Wasn’t playing well either.
It was the final game of tournament, but it didn’t seem like a final. The game was slow, and there were not many bodychecks. Defensive play wasn’t tight, and offense the shots often went too high or too wide. The biggest disappointment of the night came when the spectators heard that Jason “Killer” Doig of the New York Rangers wouldn’t play, because Rangers hadn’t give him permission. Jyp should have won the game, but were not fortunate. One shot in the 1st period and three in second hit the post and bounced away. They also had a few other good scoring opportunities, but again goaltender Markus Korhonen played very well. It was a shame the two best players on Kärpät today were thrown out of game in the 3rd period. First Martin Bergeron received a penalty for hooking when Jyp player took a dive. Then when Martin questioned the call with the referee, he received a personal unsportsmanlike conduct (10 minutes), which meant he would be sitting in penalty box for rest of game. A few minutes later Kimmo Koskenkorva got 5+20 for spearing, and his game was over as well. Kärpät scored two power play goals and one short-handed, while Jyp scored one power-play goal.
1st period: Read more»