– Oh Sámi when you’re old! Where have those 35 years gone?
Pasi Mustonen is embarrassed, even a little amused as he pushes his age. The head coach of the female lions turns 60 on Sunday.
The anniversary wings him on an immediate time travel.
– I was 25 when I left Jyväskylä in Tampere in the autumn of 1986 to become Ilves’ coaching manager during my studies in sports science.
– I didn’t think I would become a coach then. That’s when I thought about what the point of winning is.
The coaching was not fascinating, but tourism all the more so. Hockey opened up opportunities, and in the late ’80s, Mustonen found himself in the Swiss postcard landscape as Rapperswil-Jona’s coaching manager.
The work included coaching the A-junior team. On the bench, Mustonen experienced extremes of emotion that he had not received anywhere else.
– Winning is nice and losing is bullshit.
The flame ignited.
– If these extremes do not come, then no one will be able to coach, especially at the higher levels, where there are expectations from the audience, sponsors and the media.
The idea of winning also arose. That is just the logical consequence of a job well done.
– That’s where the spark came from.
Hockey has made Mustonen a traveler. He lists the places where he has lived: Rapperswil-Jona, Oulu, Kiruna, Tingsryd, Skellefteå, Haparanda, Oulu again, Lahti, Vierumäki …
– 24 to 25 times in my life I’ve changed. No one can do it if they don’t know why they do it.
Mustonen turns to talk about his wife From Johanna. She has always moved with her husband to where the slut has taken this.
– The decision was made together. And that decision saved our marriage, Mustonen says gratefully.
When the man coached in Switzerland, the wife made her master’s degree from there.
– My advice to young coaches is that its decision must always be common. Otherwise, the alliance will disintegrate in such a rally. It has so many variables. For us, it saved our entire marriage.
Mustonen calls Johanna an iron muse.
– We have been a team, and we do not regret that round for a day.
“I cried in the hospital”
Mustonen’s first big wash in Finland was Kärppie’s main coaching in the early 90’s. The task was to lift the people of Oulu from the divari back to the SM league, but instead of getting up, Mustonen got into the middle of a nightmare.
On October 9, 1992, in a match played against the Junkkari of Kalajoki, a Fly Attacker Matti Veivo paralyzed as he staggered, got a small pusher and collided with his forehead above the edge.
– I remember Mati’s look at the hospital. I remember when I cried in it, Mustonen says quietly.
The team was paralyzed.
– We applied for match transfers, but the Hockey Association refused.
A month later, Mustonen was fired, which was no longer really a shock. The thoughts were in Veivo’s well-being.
– That moment there in the hospital will never be forgotten.
After the kicks, Mustonen moved to Sweden for ten years with his wife Johanna and small children.
The son of Kainuu, who coached at the lower levels of the country, fell in love with Swedish culture.
– The Swedes have always been good at working together. They have the fact that hey, we’re doing this in a bunch.
– It comes from a deep social democratic tradition and has been reflected in Swedish sports life. That teamwork grew in power and I took it from there half-conscious.
After returning to Finland, Mustonen experienced kinship Hannu Aravirran with. Mustonen worked as his assistant coach in Kärpi and Pelicans.
– If I’ve learned the most from someone, it’s Ara. He still had a residual amount of energy when he was 60 years old.
When Ara called
And it was Aravirta who came up with the idea of proposing a new head coach of the Female Lions from Mustonen.
President of the Hockey Association Kalervo Kummola had first offered a wash to Aravirra when the coach was changing after the Sochi Olympics.
Aravirta was not excited as she was retiring from coaching.
– Ara called that she didn’t care, would I care. I was that oh what. I was a little beaten on the head, Mustonen recalls.
– I said let me think about the day. Ara called the next day. I said that there is nothing to lose here.
On April 25, 2014, Mustonen was appointed the new head coach of the women’s national team. She had no previous experience in women’s hockey.
– But I watched all the games in Sochi and lit up when I saw that it is possible to develop the game with quite a few things.
In the female lion, Mustonen has written the history of Finnish hockey when Finland advanced for the first time to the finals of the women’s championships in Espoo in 2019.
In Mustonen’s era, Finland has had medals in every competition. There is one World Championship silver, three World Championship bronze and one Olympic bronze.
But Mustonen is not talking about results, statistics or investments. No, although Mustonen talks a lot.
She talks about her coaching philosophy and relationships.
– I coach because of relationships. Sure, it’s been nice to win a medal or be a world champion for a while, but that’s not the thing. The most important thing is the people.
Women have been impressed.
– When that group decides something, they are all involved in it. And we don’t always talk about the game. We can talk about anything.
The shoulder broke
Mustonen and the Lioness have had fun. It’s noticed when you ask women’s national team players stories about the head coach.
One case rises above the others. That’s when my own player drove Mustonen’s shoulder scattered during rehearsals.
This happened at the 2017 World Cup camp in Michigan. Mustonen bursts into laughter when he mentions it.
He played the pack in a 1-1 drill where the puck striker just had to pass. Saana Valkama tried to push through the head coach.
– I was a bowling alley. Saana was supposed to deceive me, but for some reason Saana was driving in the opposite direction. I thought I’d either pull the counter ball or dodge. I chose to dodge.
– Saana pulled me up. I flew into the air, stalked toward the ceiling, and fell down.
The shoulder shattered. Mustonen coached the competition with a tie.
– It was a little more painful for me. Well, now that shoulder can do a handball jump.
– It is a warm memory within the team and a living legend that Saana will no longer fit in the gang or not!
Suitable, of course. Mustonen still wants to underline it. At the same time, she glows that she has never been as nice as in the Lioness.
The next big goal is now the Beijing Winter 2022 Olympics. Mustonen’s contract ends there. But it is heard from the voice that he is not yet ready for the final texts.
Retirement does not make sense.
– Now it is only starting to feel like you can start coaching when you are 60.
– Time for a long time I have learned.