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Tappara (Finnish for "Battle axe", Finnish pronunciation: [ˈtɑpːɑrɑ]) is a Finnish ice hockey team playing in the Liiga. They play at Tampereen jäähalli in Tampere, Finland. The team has won 14 Finnish league championships with its current name (1959, 1961, 1964, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2003, 2016, 2017).[1] The team continued the traditions of TBK, who won three national championships in a row in 1953, 1954 and 1955.

Tampereen Tappara
Logo of Tappara.svg
CityTampere
LeagueLiiga
Founded1955
Home arenaHakametsä
ColoursBlue, orange, white
              
Owner(s)Tamhockey Oy
General managerMikko Leinonen
Head coachJukka Rautakorpi
CaptainKristian Kuusela
Championships1953, 1954, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2003, 2016, 2017
Websitewww.tappara.fi
TapparaUniformEnglish.png

Team historyEdit

Early daysEdit

Tappara was established in 1955 in Tampere and a major part of the players came to the newly founded team from local team Tammerfors Bollklubb, when Tappara inherited their place in the national top league. Tappara also borrowed TBK's colors for themselves and got their place in the top league. Tappara played its first official game in the same year, 1955. The transition was led by team president Harry Lindblad.[2]

First period of success (1956–1964)Edit

 
Tappara championship squad in 1961

Tappara went on to win three championships (1959, 1961, and 1964), three second places (1958, 1960, and 1963), and three third places (1956, 1957, and 1962) in just nine years. Their winning streak was followed by a more silent period, with Tappara even playing one season (1965–1966) at the second highest level, gaining immediate promotion back to the top flight. In 1965, an indoor arena Tampereen jäähalli was built in Hakametsä to be the home arena of Tappara and their local rivals, Ilves and Koo-Vee. 1965 World Ice Hockey Championships were also held there in the same year.

Second period of success (1975–1988)Edit

Tappara fans had to wait until the mid-seventies until Tappara started to be successful again, thanks to some legendary players such as the goalkeeper Antti Leppänen and the defender Pekka Marjamäki. The bronze medals in 1973 and silver medals in 1974 were followed by Finnish championship in 1975. This successful period was even longer than the first period of glory in the 1950s and early sixties. Tappara also won the Finnish championships in 1977, 1979, 1982, 1984, and the long streak ended by winning three consecutive championships in 1986–1988.

Many fans regard the Tappara team of the late 1980s – coached by Rauno Korpi – as their strongest of all time. Behind the senior players such as Timo Susi and Erkki Lehtonen, the likes of Teppo Numminen (a long-term defender in NHL) and Janne Ojanen (Tappara icon) led the way as new talented youngsters. In 1988, the Finland national team gained its first success by winning the Olympic silver medal in Calgary, and Tappara players formed a substantial part of the Finnish team. Tappara players, Erkki Lehtonen and Janne Ojanen, were the goal scorers for Finland in the decisive win against the Soviet Union.

Recent days and success in mid-2010sEdit

During the 1990s, Tappara did not gain any notable success besides finishing third in the league in spring 1990. In 1992, the once so mighty team even had to fight for its place at the top level in relegation playoffs against Oulun Kärpät. A glimpse of glory was, however, achieved on the international level, as Tappara player Timo Jutila captained the Finnish national team to win the ice hockey world championship in 1995. In the early 2000s, Tappara played some good seasons, winning silver medals in both 2001 and 2002. In 2003 – to the surprise of many – Tappara won the Finnish championship, coached by Jukka Rautakorpi. After that, Tappara reached 3rd place in the top league in 2008 but that achievement was followed by some difficult seasons. Tappara qualified only once to the playoffs between 2009 and 2012.

All changed in the 2012-13 season when Tappara made it to the finals for the first time since the 2003 championship, but lost to Ässät. In 2014 and 2015 Tappara came even closer to the title. Both final series were decided in a decisive seventh game and both of the games Kärpät won in overtime. In 2016, Tappara finally won the championship after beating HIFK in the finals.[1] In 2017, Tappara won the regular season for the first time since 2002, advanced to the finals for the fifth time in a row and won another championship against KalPa. In 2018, Tappara reached the finals for a record-breaking 6th year in a row, but lost to Kärpät in 6 games. The great streak of final appearances came to an end in 2019 when HPK defeated Tappara in the semi-finals in six games. The medal streak continued however, as Tappara won the bronze medal game against HIFK.

Home arenaEdit

Tappara has played their home games in Tampereen jäähalli since it was built in 1965. The local rival Ilves uses the same arena. The arena was the first indoor arena in Finland and it is located in the neighborhood of Hakametsä. Originally the capacity was 10,200 spectators, but it has declined in various renovations over the years. In its current form, the arena accommodates 7,300 spectators.

A new arena is being built in the city center of Tampere on a covered rail yard. The arena is supposed to open in 2021.[3] The 2022 Ice Hockey World Championships has been granted for Finland and in the application process the plan was to play the games in Tampere and Helsinki.[4] Host cities haven't been confirmed yet, though.[5] Tampereen jäähalli will be converted into a venue for other indoor sports when the new arena is opened.

Current rosterEdit

Notable playersEdit

HonoursEdit

ChampionsEdit

Runners-upEdit

  •   SM-liiga (13): (1958, 1960, 1963, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 2001, 2002, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018
  •   SM-sarja (4): 1958, 1960, 1963, 1974
  •   SM-liiga (3): 1990, 2008, 2019
  •   SM-sarja (9): 1946, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1973
  •   Finnish Cup (2): 1964, 1966

InternationalEdit

Retired numbersEdit

Head coachesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Tampereella juhlitaan – Tappara on Suomen mestari!". Ilta-Sanomat. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  2. ^ Lahti, Janne (2002-02-07). "TBK / Tappara". Uta.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2019-03-01.
  3. ^ "Tampereen kansi ja areena". kansiareena.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  4. ^ "IIHF". iihf.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Kuusi vaihtoehtoa! Kiekkopomo paljastaa MTV Sportille tarjoukset MM-kotikisojen pelipaikoiksi". mtv.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Joukkue (Tappara)" (in Finnish). www.tappara.fi. Retrieved 2018-10-17.

External linksEdit