Saturday, February 5, 2011
The first ever Winter Classic (Talviklassiko) outdoor game to be held in Finland will take place today when Helsinki rivals Jokerit faces off against HIFK at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, the first hockey game held in the stadium since 1941, some 70 years ago!
Currently, HIFK is in third place in the SM-Liiga with 93 points, while Jokerit is in fourth place, albeit some distance behind at 79 points. Game time is 4:30 PM local time in Helsinki, which is 9:30 AM Eastern time in the United States, and temperatures are expected to be -3º C, or 26º F with a 15% chance of snow.
The game is a sell out, with 36,000 tickets having beens sold with each club's fans being seated on their own side of the stadium, which will certainly create a terrific atmosphere as well as setting a new record for attendance.
Recognizable names include Jokerit's team captain and former Coyote, Avalanche and Flyer Ossi Väänänen and HIFK's captain Ville Peltonen, who played in the NHL most recently with the Florida Panthers in 2009.
Both clubs will be wearing special throwback jerseys for the occasion, which are free from the usual plethora of advertisements found on jerseys in Finland.
A 2009-10 HIFK jersey with abundant sponsorship
A regular Jokerit jersey also replete with many sponsor logos
Today's featured jersey is a 2010-11 HIFK Helsinki Ville Peltonen jersey as will be worn in the first ever Finnish Winter Classic to be played in Helsinki's Olympic Stadium. This special throwback style jersey will be free from the overwhelming number of advertisements which normally appear on jerseys in Finland and have already proven enormously popular with the fans in Finland.
Bonus Jersey: Today's Bonus Jerseys is a 2010-11 Jokerit Helsinki Ossi Väänänen jersey that the Jokerit captain will wear in the Finnish Winter Classic.
The jerseys that will be worn in the game are already up for bid online and should be quite sought after by fans and collectors.
Here are additional videos in Finnish with Peltonen and Väänänen showing the unveiling of the jerseys to be worn.
UPDATE: Here is a highlight video of the game, attended by 36,644, showing the jerseys in action as well as some of the atmosphere surrounding the game, won by HIFK 4-3 on the strength of two goals in the opening minute of play.