– When you stop to think correctly, you wake up at a great age, but otherwise it does not cause any more strange feelings.

This is the mood Pentti Matikainen, my 70th birthday puck icon on Monday.

– Of course, everything is limited, he continues.

– Too many friends have already dropped off along the way.

Medal tube

Matikainen left the Pelicans board in the summer. He is not currently involved in puck activities.

– My little goal is to get 60 full years of hockey work. Yes, of course there is plenty to do here anyway – but I don’t think I can ever chill on hockey.

Matikainen played the Finnish Championships in Jokipoja and the Finnish Champions League in SaiPa, but he only became a heavyweight player in Finnish hockey as a coach in the 1980s in Oulu.

– That’s when I matured into a coach and finally made a big career choice, Matikainen formulates.

– Since then, hockey has filled life in one form or another.

Matikainen did not operate behind the Oulu bench in a club top jacket, but on top of the latter in style and grinding his mouth with xylitol.

– It was all about self-branding, he explains.

– From the beginning, I had a vision that I want to be the head coach of the national team. There can be no junk in that job.

Matikainen coached Kärppi four seasons and won four medals: bronze in 1984–86 and silver in 1987.

– I consider it a tough performance. Not that kind (medal tube) is very common even today.

Clock on the wall

HIFK grabbed Matikainen to bring success and reform the organization.

– I got on a tough meter, because I was the club’s first junior coach from outside the Ring Road, Matikainen says.

– The appreciation had to be earned with his own work. Even today, it is not easy to come to HIFK to play or coach.

Matikainen was sometimes called North Karelia in the locker room, but he was not shy in bright lights. The collars were upright and the back hair fluffy.

– I felt that the match was a celebration of my work, and I wanted to communicate the outside world that I’m serious and prepared. The flame must be visible to the outside if you want to ignite other people.

The scene of the HIFK commanded by Matikainen was in the spring of 1988, but Tappara was more advanced and slipped Pauli Järvisen with a decisive semi-final finish in the final, to the horror of a full Nordenskiöldinkatu.

– When the series was solved at home with a certain kind of luck, I threw the clock happily on the coach booth wall. The jokers flew when I teased myself, Matikainen recalls.

– It was known that whoever goes to the finals will win the championship – without in any way underestimating the Lock.

Tappara defeated Luko in the final series with 4-1 victories.


Matikainen’s three-season period at the helm of HIFK brought bronze and two semi-final relegations, but on the national team he forged a beautiful result and wrote history.

– The sport had developed in club teams to such a level that it was possible to talk about hockey players as top athletes, Matikainen said.

– I was lucky to be in the right seam to take that step.

Under Matikainen’s leadership, Finland won its first medals: Olympic silver in 1988 and World Championship silver in 1992. In the autumn 1991 Canada Cup, Finland placed third.

– Only afterwards has it been realized that I did something where no one else had succeeded, Matikainen says.

– Then it had to cross big mental thresholds, but it still bears fruit.

Matikainen didn’t just choose the stars.

– Even on the national team, someone has to take care of the dune, he lines up.

– There were no rotten apples on the team, but everyone accepted their role and committed. When I later analyzed, Casting was an important factor that boosted their medals.

Bad conscience

Matikainen had a heart attack in 2002. He was 51 years old, toasted as HIFK’s general manager and slept at night for only a few hours.

– I had a direct heart operation, Matikainen says.

– It had considered itself so hard when there was a sports background, but then I had to put many values ​​of life in a new order.

Smoking ceased in the hospital car park.

– I lifted my lips but didn’t light them, Matikainen smiles.

– I had smoked four pads a day. I was not a slave to nicotine, but burning was a habit.

Alcohol was left seven years ago.

– I’ve always been an affordable and user-drunk maybe ten times a year. Admittedly, when I drank, it was always binge drinking.

The hardest part of lifestyle renovation was learning how to sleep a good night’s sleep.

– For twenty years I was used to sleeping for four or five hours, and I didn’t patch it up for a nap or a weekend. I had a bad conscience, that day is incomplete if I went to bed around midnight.

Jthe mist continues after the picture.

Big drop

Today, an eight-hour night’s sleep is a matter of course. Matikainen is in an iron condition – as the whole nation has seen in Nelonen’s rotating Back to the Lion series.

– More and more need to take care of physics. Decay happens all by itself, if not slow it down with exercise.

Exercise is part of almost every day: Nordic walking, fitness cycling, weight training, jump training in the pool …

– The weight has dropped 34 kilos in four years, Matikainen smiles.

– The wardrobe has gone new.