Due to the circumstances, most of the composition of the Lions 5–8. will be selected from the SM League for the Karelia tournament to be played in November. It messes up the daily lives of league teams in an already challenging situation, but the Lions GM Jere Lehtinen assured the common tone was found.
– We have cooperated and in agreement we make choices, he said at a hockey association’s virtual press conference.
Head coach Jukka Jalonen was on the same lines.
– It is clear that the League has been in a very difficult situation. All the puck people hope that the League can be taken through with honor. It is known that there will continue to be small slowdowns along the way, but hopefully not too big, he primed.
– The cooperation has played very well, at least from my own perspective. Yes, Finnish coaches understand the importance of the A national team, even if the situation is not optimal.
Jalonen reminded that there is a possibility of getting sick in the corona, no matter what is done about it.
– One hundred percent protection is never obtained. We, too, have tried our best to organize a bubble in this of our own tournaments so that league clubs do not suffer.
No NHL loans
In terms of coaching, the biggest difference compared to the normal situation is in the selection process. The composition of the team was not announced at the press conference.
– It will be released later this week. After all, we already have that group on our toes, but we also need to find out the situation of the Jokers, Jalonen said.
Initially, the coaching management planned to select only players living in Finland, ie players from the Finnish Championship League Clubs and Jokers, for the team.
– Then it would be as safe as possible.
The plan became complicated when the Joker team was diagnosed with four coronavirus infections on Friday, and the results of the latest tests are still awaited.
– We need to find out if the Joker players are available at all for this event. If they aren’t, then it changes the setup a bit. Then we have to think about whether we need to ask the players for even the Swedish series or whether we will make it to the league players.
According to Jalonen, the latter option is possible.
– During the early part of the season, good players have emerged from the league, who definitely deserve a place in the A national team. The league practices very well, he praised.
Borrowers playing in the league on an NHL contract will not be selected for the tournament.
– The main goal of each season is the World Cup, even this season. Let’s hope those races are played. That is where we are preparing, and virtually none of the North American loans will be able to take part in the Games, because they will presumably have their own games running in the AHL or NHL at the time.
In the Karelian tournament, the line-up of the Lions is unusual.
– This has always been our best player in Europe at the moment, when we have had a choice everywhere. Now the situation is different, and we should not take players from KHL because of the corona, Jalonen said, meaning non-Joker men.
– Those players haven’t usually been involved in the next two EHTs, but now they will be. So in the big picture, nothing changes, the order is just a little different.
Although the selection will have to be made from a more limited group of players than usual, the tournament will serve as the national team’s preparation towards the main goal of the spring, according to Jalonen.
– At least I would like to see that after the three EHT tournaments have been played, the players have been admitted in exactly the same way as before.