Juuso Hietanen won his first gold medal in the national team at the age of 36. This week, he may leave the Lion as a double champion.
One the lion’s long road to the national team may end this week in Tampere.
If that happens, it will hardly be a number. No, because it’s not a player’s style. Juuso Hietanen has been a quiet top defender throughout his career, and many will only wake up to the medals.
It shows that he has played one of the value races again without gestures and without mistakes. Took the job home like a coach’s ideal player – behind the brightest star glory.
And the 36-year-old Hietanen does not want to make any news in advance about whether or not his national team career will end in this World Cup.
“Let’s think about it then. Let’s focus on this week here now and think about those things after these games are played, ”Hietanen says and avoids the topic.
Tuesday night’s Czech game is the 200th national match of Hietanen from Hämeenlinna. He is by far the number one active player in Finland.
Hietanen The fact that Finland’s two most successful coaches, Jukka Jalonen and Kari Jalonen, have always wanted him on the team. Hietanen is one of the few players who has played under both Refs, both on the national team and at the club level.
Hietanen played at Jukka Jalonen’s HPK when he was young and 15 years later qualifies for Jonenen’s Lions first place.
Kari Jalonen once acquired Hietanen from the KHL team Torpedo Nizhni in Novgorod and also invited him to the national team.
“In the big picture, they have pretty much the same thing. Maybe there are some specific situations that are played differently, mainly in the defense head, ”Hietanen compares the top coaches.
“It’s been a while since I had Kojo as a coach. But of course he’s still your top friend. If you can become the head coach of the Czech national team, you have to have good merits. He must have put the Czech Republic in good shape against us. ”
Hietanen the lion’s plow is so long that it can also hold bitter losses. Prior to this, he had played seven World Championships and two Olympics without the brightest medal. Twice he had lost the World Cup final, in 2014 and 2016. In February, he finally became – at the age of 36 – an Olympic winner.
There would be a double jackpot in Tampere. What better way to finish on the national team than Olympic and World Cup gold.
But don’t go ahead yet.
“We have had a good, positive atmosphere on the team all along. Things have been done well, but there are a lot of tough games left here, ”says Hietanen, a worker.
“Let’s continue with the same pattern. It’s been nice to play. ”
Hietanen plays behind Finland’s number one chain Mikko Lehtonen roll. They were already a pair in the Beijing Games.
“Thoughts and gaming go well together. You don’t have to agree on everything when you know pretty much what’s coming from there. ”
With lions was a holiday on Sunday, when someone headed to the cottage, someone to the sauna. Hietanen drove home to Hämeenlinna.
“It’s a pretty short distance to drive home, so I got to visit the family,” he says.
Hietanen will get to his home in Hämeenlinna even more often in the future. The round of as many as 15 years abroad ended when the veteran made the long-awaited decision to return to HPK for next season.
“For a long time now, the idea was that at some point it would be great to go back to the Club,” he says.
“Now all the pieces are pretty much in place. My wife’s work patterns went well at the same time. ”
And even though Hietanen will be 37 years old in the summer, an athlete who plays smart and takes care of himself will show no signs of fading. Vice versa. Power has to play for even more years.
“Well, yeah! Now there is a 2 + 1 year contract. Let’s start with that, ”Hietanen grins.
Finland in the final round of the match, the Czech Republic, which has played its way as the Games progress. Kari Jalonen’s attack is teeming with world-class stars: David Pastrnak, David Krejci, Roman Cervenka, Tomas Hertl…
“They have a really good team here. You have to play for a good 60 minutes if you want to win, ”says Hietanen.
“You have to be ready from the start. They have a lot of skilled players who can score goals. I have to defend well. ”
Defending. Sounds like a job Hietanen knows.
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