|Home arena||Isomäki Areena|
|Colours||Red, black, white|
|General manager||Tommi Kerttula|
|Head coach||Ari-Pekka Selin|
|Affiliate(s)||Karhu HT (Suomi-sarja)|
1971, 1978, 2013
The full name of the company operating the team is at present HC Ässät Pori Oy. They have won three Finnish Championships in ice hockey (1971, 1978, and 2013), and several other medals — most recently silver in 2006. In addition, both Karhut and RU-38 were one-time champions each. Ässät has always played on the first-tier league (Liiga and SM-sarja) except for the 1989-1990 season in I-Divisioona. Ässät is also first-time Suomen Cup champion from 1967.
In the early 1960s, two clubs from Pori joined the SM-sarja, Karhut and RU-38. Both quickly rose to the top of the country’s clubs and achieved success in the Finnish league. Karhut won the Finnish championship in 1965 and RU-38 two years later, in 1967. There was fierce competition between the Pori clubs both on and off the field. The town was sharply divided into the Karhut and RU-38 among the people of Pori, the Karhut were more popular because the majority of the people of Pori considered it the city's own company. The RU-38, on the other hand, was considered a Rosenlew factories-funded purchasing team, but it still had its own supporters. The relations between the clubs were not very good.
Although the RU-38 won the Finnish championship in 1967, the Rosenlew factory seriously considered giving up sports activities, as Rosenlew felt that hockey did not bring enough positive publicity to the company, quite the contrary. The leaders of the Karhut and RU-38 negotiated the unification of the clubs during the spring and early summer so secretly that even the insiders of the teams did not get to know about the merger negotiations. The problem for the Karhut was the economic downturn, as the club had invested in player acquisitions in the fight for the Finnish league success and the city’s hockey dominance. The income was not enough to cover the expenses, especially after some of the supporters had moved to the Rosenlew club.
As Rosenlew was abandoning the sports club, it was suggested that the RU-38 was simply moved to Karhut. This did not come into question from Rosenlew's side, but the club had to be given a new name. When an agreement was finally reached, Rosenlew took over a large portion of the Karhut's debts and promised to support the new one to follow financially in the early years. The new club was named Porin Ässät. The birth of the club was announced at the end of June 1967. The name of the club was given by Vilho Santala, who acted as a negotiator in uniting the clubs and was elected the first chairman of Ässät. The club's logo was designed by Vesa Antikainen. The color of the club was chosen to be red, which went well with the black and white logo. In addition to hockey, the clubs' Ässät inherited RU-38's place in the football league (Mestaruussarja).
The early days of Ässät did not go smoothly after the merger. Moving Karhut and RU-38 players to the same team didn’t go without the club executives being gathered for a meeting to warm up the cool gaps. The merger of the two top clubs also raised dreams in Pori that one super team will now be added to the city. This was not the case, as one of the field-level men was looking for a new club. The starters were mainly the players of the previous season's Finnish champion RU-38. The first team of aces thus consisted mainly of Karhut players.
The first games of Ässät in the autumn of 1967 went well and even before the start of the Finnish Championship series, Ässät won the Suomen Cup championship. In the final match played in Savonlinna, SaPKo collapsed. Thanks to the RU-38 championship, Ässät also played in the 1968 European Cup, where it won its first two rounds. In the semi-finals, however, SC Dynamo Berlin advanced to the semi-finals.
In his first season in the 1967–1968 Finnish Championships, Ässät placed fourth with Rauli Virtanen's coaching. The new club did not receive unreserved support from the people of Pori, as the number of spectators decreased somewhat. The total audience for the first season was 10,000 viewers lower than the audience for the last season of Karhut. In the second season of Ässät, however, the audience numbers started to rise, and the audience numbers already rose to the same level as Karhut had. Lasse Heikkilä, the former coach of Karhut, became the coach for the second season and served as the team's coach until 1974 and later in 1976–1981. In the 1968–1969 season, Ässät were again fourth. For the following season, 1969–1970, Ässät suffered two heavy losses when Veli-Pekka Ketola and Alpo Suhonen left for Jokerit for a year. Ässät finished sixth in the series.
For the season 1970–1971, Ässät got a tough returnee from Helsinki when Veli-Pekka Ketola returned to Pori after playing for one season in Jokerit. Alpo Suhonen also returned to Ässät after Ketola. Ketola's return to his home club gave rise to a huge training enthusiasm in other players as well, and coach Lasse Heikkilä took the team on a training trip to Moscow before the start of the season. The trip to the Soviet Union started training very early, by the standards of the time, because there was no ice on Pori in early autumn.
In the 1970–1971 season Ässät finished third in the series after Jokerit and HIFK. In the final series, everything fell into place, Ässät lost only one of their ten matches and overtook the Helsinki clubs ahead. Ässät's championship was decided before the end of the series. The gold medals were finally secured by a five-point difference to the Jokers who came in silver.
The first championship came under the leadership of the attacking trio Erkki Väkiparta - Veli-Pekka Ketola - Tapio Koskinen. Other lines behind No. 1 were also able to provide solutions. There were also big names in the defense, such as Antti Heikkilä and Pekka Rautakallio.
The post-championship periods were more modest for Ässät. Ässät remained the same after the championship season and an ice rink was given to Pori, but no lasting success was achieved. In the four seasons following the championship season, the club placed in the middle caste of the series and did not seek medals, but there was no threat of relegation either.
Nor was much expected for the period 1975–1976. The worst loss was Pekka Rautakallio's departure for North America. However, promising young people came to Ässät; Tapio Levo filled the gap left by Rautakallio. The net was blocked by the young Antero Kivelä. The young team of Ässät showed their potential in the series by beating the predicted clubs to the top of the series. It was worst experienced by the future champion TPS, who won Ässät 14-0. However, the access for Ässät to the top four in the playoffs was only decided in the final round against Lukko. In the semi-finals, Ässät challenged Tappara, who advanced to the finals 2-0. In the bronze matches against HIFK, Ässät's hunger for victory was greater and the people of Pori took the bronze games 2-0.
At least as good a performance was expected for the following season, 1976–1977, but the Aces remained fifth in the series and thus did not make the playoffs.
The 1977–1978 season again raised hopes of success when Pekka Rautakallio and Veli-Pekka Ketola returned to Ässät from North America. In addition, promising young people played in the club, such as Arto Javanainen, Kari Makkonen, Tapio Levo and Harry Nikander. The aces finished second in the regular season after Tappara and defeated TPS 3–2 in the semi-finals. The final series against Tappara did not start promisingly, as Tappara won the first match in Tampere 8–0. However, Ässät won the rest of the games, and the club achieved its second Finnish Championship. The last match at the Porin jäähalli was estimated to have been attended by more than 14,000 spectators, even though only 8,600 spectators should have been allowed into the arena at that time. There were more spectators in the auditorium than in any other previous hockey match played in Finland.
In the early years of the Finnish Championships in the second half of the 1970s, Ässät was one of the league's absolute top teams. The most important player on the team was the captain, center striker Veli-Pekka Ketola, who had returned from the North American WHA League. Ketola won the spring 1978 playoffs stock exchange with a point record at the time.
The season that followed the championship, 1978–1979, went as expected for Ässät in the regular season. The team won it by five points to Tappara. In the semifinals, the Aces knocked out HIFK with a win of 3-0 and advanced to the final against Tappara. Last year’s finalists struggled again for the championship. The final series became a thrilling play. Tappara won the first two matches, Ässät the next two and the final series thus stretched to the fifth, decisive match. The match played in Pori ended with Tappara's 2-5 victory, so Ässät was left with silver.
In the following season, 1979–1980, Ässät were nowhere near the previous season in the regular season, finishing fourth. In the semi-finals, TPS was defeated by Ässät 3-1, winning the finals for the third time in a row. HIFK came up against Ässät. HIFK took the championship 3–0, so Ässät were silver medallists again.
After the silver seasons, Ässät suffered bad losses when Veli-Pekka Ketola went back to North America. Tapio Levo also joined the NHL. In addition, Risto Tuomi and Veli-Matti Ruisma went to the Swedish series and Erkki Väkiparta retired. In the following seasons, Ässät placed in the middle caste of the SM-Liiga. For the 1983–1984 season, the team received well-known returnees when Tapio Levo returned from the NHL and Risto Tuomi and Harry Nikander from Sweden. The team was also strengthened by its own juniors, from whom more top players of the future were emerging; In addition to Javanainen and Levo, Kari Takko and Christian Ruuttu, among others. The team placed second in the regular season and beat Oulun Kärpät 3–2 in the semi-finals. In the finals, the opponent was again Tappara. The match series was close. Ässät won the first match in overtime but Tappara took the next three. The extra time goal of the decisive match secured Tappara the championship with 3–1 victories.
In the following season, 1984–1985, Ässät survived to the medal games, but still finished fourth. In the next three seasons, 1985–88, the team's success slowed down and Ässät were placed in the middle caste of the SM-liiga. However, access to the top four playoffs was only a few points away each time, so there was no threat of relegation. Ässät also saw the first foreigner in the 1986-87 season, when Canadian Mark Jooris played in Pori for two seasons.
New momentum from Division 1Edit
For the 1988–1989 season, Ässät prepared without major goals. A handful of regular players left the team, and no new high-class players were acquired due to the tight economic situation, but playing time was given to young promises. Sean Toomey, Rejean Boiv and later Risto Tuomi were acquired from abroad to replace Brad Beck, who was acquired to replace this injury. The season started well, but as the series progressed, Ässät sank to the tail end of the series. In the final round, Ässät met Oulun Kärpät in the jumbo final. The set-up was that with the win, Ässät would rise to tenth above the qualifying line and retain their place without qualifying. In any case, Kärpät had to play the qualification games. Kärpät won the match 2–1 and Ässät were the last in the series, having to qualify for their league place against JoKP.
The qualifiers became a thrilling play. The first qualifying match in Joensuu ended bitterly for Ässät, JoKP won with an extra time goal. Ässät won the next match in Pori, but in Joensuu JoKP won again. Ässät won the fourth match at home again. In the decisive match, the club's veterans Levo, Makkonen and Nikander and a few others gave their all in front of their team, but the Yankee reinforcements acquired unnecessary coolers, and the spirit of the game was not entirely clear to everyone else from outside Pori. JoKP won the match 5–3 and the Aces fell to the No. 1 division.
However, relegation to Division I for the period 1989–1990 raised the hockey boom in Pori as the townspeople stood behind their team. Audience numbers increased from previous league seasons as Aces ’excerpts were followed with interest. For the 1.division season, the Aces received top confirmations when Arto Javanainen returned from TPS and Arto Heiskanen from Luko. Alexei Frolikov and Vladimir Durdin from Riga Dynamo. Matti "Mölli" Keinonen became the coach. The division visit was only for the duration of the season. The aces were superior in the regular season, breaking numerous Division I records and progressing effortlessly to victory and league qualifiers in the series. In the qualifiers, JoKP was met. The aces won the match series 3-0 and returned to the SM-liiga.
With the club's toddler, the fanatical audience in Pori had time to level off due to the team's weak performances, until the puck boom was revived in the 2005–2006 season with the success of Ässät. The team survived fifth in the regular season, with Marko Kivenmäki and Kristian Kuusela as their brightest stars. The team also included enterprising promising young people such as Jesse Joensuu and Leo Komarov. Ässät first surprised Tappara, who was the favorite in the quarterfinals, with a 4–2 match win. In the semi-finals, the champion favorite Oulun Kärpät met. Ässät won the match series 3-1 and advanced to the final after a 22-year break. In the final series against HPK, Ässät's efforts were no longer enough, and HPK won the championship 3-1. Winged by surprising success, the Pori hockey boom helped the club rise from years of financial distress.
A new riseEdit
The 2012–2013 season went differently for Ässät. It started the season strongly, but by the turn of the year had fallen below the playoff line. The team sold its No. 1 center, Stephen Dixon to a KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. At the end of January, Ässät started the longest winning streak in their club history, ending only in the last previous round of the regular season with an extra time loss against Oulu Kärpät. The standings rose to twelfth to fourth. In the quarterfinals, the Aces won KalPa 4-1. Semifinals against JyP Ässät started with an overtime win when Michael Ryan scored the winning time in 92.51. Ässät won the second match in Pori 2–0 and the third in Jyväskylä 1–4. JyP narrowed the situation with their 1-2 away victory, but Ässät won the fifth match 0-1 and advanced to the finals. Tampereen Tappara won the first final 2–1 after Jukka Peltola scored five seconds before the end of the regular time. The second final match in Pori was won by Ässät 5-1. In the third match, Tappara was better with 3-2 goals, and the winning goal was scored by Niclas Lucenius just one second before the end of the actual game time. Ässät won the fourth match 4-0 in their home arena. In the fifth final match, Ässät took the away victory with goals 1-2. Veli-Matti Savinainen finished the winning goal from Ville Uusitalo's pass in the third extra time in 108.59. The match was the longest final match in SM-liiga history and the third longest in all playoffs.
Ässät won the Finnish Championship after winning Tappara in the sixth final 3–2 with Jyri Marttinen's goal, and at the same time the whole game series went to Ässät 4–2. The Pori team had won their previous championship in 1978. A real generational change was seen after the match, when the captain of the 1978 championship team, Veli-Pekka Ketola, came on the ice to hand over the Kanada malja to captain Ville Uusitalo.
Porin Ässät also had a team in the Naisten SM-sarja in 1982–1995. The team dropped out of the league in the spring of 1995 and then took a break. The next time the Ässät women's team played in the I. divisioona in the 1998-99 season. The following season, it got to try to rise back to the SM-sarja, however, remaining sixth in the eight-team qualifiers. All four SM-sarja teams retained their spots. After the qualifiers, the team played three more seasons in Divisions I and II with no significant success and then quit in the spring of 2003. The brightest star and best statistically best player on the Ässät Women team was Sari Fisk.
- Sari Fisk (later Marjamäki) (four-time European champion and six-time World Championship bronze medallist)
Players and staffEdit
Updated September 17, 2021.
|General Manager||Tommi Kerttula|
|Head Coach||Ari-Pekka Selin|
|Assistant Coach||Saku Martikainen|
|Assistant Coach||Pasi Arvonen|
|Goaltending Coach||Jaakko Rosendahl|
|Physical coach||Seppo Vihelä|
- Kanada-malja (3): 1970–72, 1977–78, 2012–13
- Runner-up (4): 1978–79, 1979–80, 1983–84, 2005–06
- Bronze (2): 1975–76, 1994–95
- Winners (1): 1967
- Bronze (1): 1978–79
Other awards for the club:
The home arena of Ässät is Isomäki areena, which is known for its close atmosphere and reputation as a difficult place for away teams. The arena is located in the Pori sporting center in the Isomäki district. It was last renovated in 2014–2016, and its name was officially changed to Isomäki Areena. The current audience capacity of the arena is 6,350-6,500 people.
Ässät's Home and away uniforms (outdated)
Ässät also has an additional black-red uniform used rarely.
Ässät's goal song is Patasydän by Nuoret vihaiset miehet (played everytime they score). Patasydän is specifically made for Ässät. In the start of every game the arena plays Isomäen legenda by Remix. The song is also made specifically for Ässät. Their entrance music (played when the players come on the ice) is "Touch and go" from Emerson, Lake & Powell. Ässät also uses different rock music like Hells Bells from AC/DC.
- "Juhani Tammisen Sport tarrasi momentumiinsa Porissa 'Juhani Tamminen's Sport Vaasa hang on to their momentum in Pori". Helsinki: Helsingin Sanomat. 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
- "Ässät 2021-22". www.eliteprospects.com.
- "Ässät". pointstreak.com. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
- "Etusivu > Joukkue > Johtoryhmä". Ässät. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
- "Porin kiekkoväelle tärkeä nimi säilyy – jäähalli on nyt Isomäki Areena".
- "Porin jäähallin remontissa loppukiri: "Töitä tehdään yötä päivää"".
- "Ässät 3rd uniform" (in Finnish).
- "Pataljoona.fi" (in Finnish).
- (in Finnish) Ässät official website