Kiekko-Espoo Naiset
Kiekko-espoo logo 2019.png
City Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
League Naisten Liiga
Founded 1989 (1989)
Home arena Tapiolan urheilupuisto
Colors Navy, gold, blue
General manager Emma Terho
Head coach Sami Haapanen
Captain Annina Rajahuhta
Affiliate(s) Espoon Kiekkoseura (EKS)
Parent club(s) Kiekko Espoo Oy
Farm club(s) Kiekko-Espoo Akatemia
Championships 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019

Website
kiekko-espoonaiset.fi
Franchise history
1989–1992 Espoon Kiekkoseura (EKS)
1992–1998 Kiekko-Espoo Naiset
1998–2016 Espoo Blues Naiset
2016–17 Espoo United Naiset
2017–2019 Espoo Blues
2019–present Kiekko-Espoo Naiset

Kiekko-Espoo Naiset (previously Espoo Blues Naiset) is the representative women's ice hockey team of the hockey club Kiekko-Espoo based in Espoo, Finland. They compete in the Naisten Liiga, the premier women's ice hockey league in Finland, where they are the winningest team in league history.[1] The team has been known as Espoon Kiekkoseura (EKS), Espoo Blues Naiset, Espoo United Naiset, and Kiekko-Espoo during its tenure in the Naisten Liiga; at least one Finnish Championship medal (gold, silver, or bronze) was won under each name.

History[edit | edit source]

EKS, 1990–1992[edit | edit source]

The team entered Naisten SM-sarja (now Naisten Liiga) in the 1990–91 season under the name EKS (Espoon Kiekkoseura). The two seasons played as EKS were an impressive showing for the newcomers and each resulted in a bronze medal, one in the 1990–91 season after defeating Ässät and one in the 1991–92 season after defeating KalPa.

Several EKS players also played for the bronze medal winning Finnish women's national team at the 1992 IIHF World Championship including Liisa Karikoski, Katri-Helena Luomajoki, and Hanna Teerijoki.[2]

Kiekko-Espoo, 1992–1998[edit | edit source]

In 1992 EKS was renamed Kiekko-Espoo, the same name as its brother-team in the Liiga. The team continued to be held to bronze or lower finishes, making it to five bronze medal series in six years and winning four of them (1993, 1994, 1997, 1998).

The Golden Age: Espoo Blues, 1998–2016[edit | edit source]

The team was renamed Espoo Blues in 1998, continuing the trend of sharing the name of its brother-team in the Liiga, which also renamed Espoo Blues in that year. The name change unwittingly marked the beginning of a "golden age" for the team. Starting with their first SM-sarja gold medal in 1999, after achieving victory over JYP in the finals, they went on to win a staggering seven consecutive championships (1999–2005) and a total of thirteen championships in eighteen years. The Blues were kept off the SM-sarja medal podium only three times in the 1998–2016 span; in addition to their championship titles, they earned the team's first silver medal in 2009 and two more bronze medals in 2006 and 2016.

The Espoo Blues were also strong competitors at international tournaments in this period, earning medals at six IIHF European Women's Champions Cups: three silver medals (2005, 2007-08, 2009-10) and three bronze medals (2008-09, 2013–14, 2014–15).[3]

Espoo United, 2016–17[edit | edit source]

In March 2016 Jääkiekko Espoo Oy, the parent club of both the Espoo Blues of the Naisten Liiga and Espoo Blues of the Liiga, declared bankruptcy with estimated liabilities of approximately €3 million.[4] In response, Jussi Salonoja, a Finnish millionaire and film director who had previously owned the Espoo Blues franchise from 2002–2012, created a new club and organization called Espoo United Oy,[5] stating that he was "committed to supporting hockey in Espoo."[6] The Espoo Blues men's and women's basketball and ice hockey teams would play for Espoo United.

For the 2016–17 season the Espoo United women's ice hockey team played in the Naisten SM-sarja and won silver in the 2017 Finnish Championship. The Espoo United men's team played in the Mestis, the league below the premier-level Liiga, where they won bronze in the playoffs.

On 15 August 2017 Salonoja announced that the Espoo United was abandoning its women's ice hockey and basketball teams for financial reasons.[7] “The reason is twofold: the men's teams' budgets are far greater than those of women's teams, so their running is more demanding, but on the other hand, [the men's teams] are more interesting to sponsors and audiences,” Salonoja said.[8][9]

The future of women's ice hockey team was left uncertain and many possible solutions were proposed, including being acquired by HIFK[10] or merging with Espoo Blues Juniorit (a junior club with strong ties to the franchise).[8]

Espoo Blues part 2, 2017–2019[edit | edit source]

In September 2017 the Finnish Ice Hockey Association announced that it had supported the creation of an independent association, Ysikoppi ry, to oversee the team and had given its approval for the team to compete in the upcoming 2017–18 season under the name Espoo Blues.[11][12]

Players and personnel[edit | edit source]

2020–21 roster[edit | edit source]

As of 26 October 2020[13][14][15]
# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
12 Flag of Finland Aro, JaninaJanina Aro

D L 21 2018 Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
35 Flag of Finland Drufva, MinjaMinja Drufva

G L 18 2018 Lohja, Uusimaa, Finland
13 Flag of Finland Eronen, AdaAda Eronen

D L 16 2018 Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
19 Flag of Finland Haukijärvi, TinjaTinja Haukijärvi

F L 23 2017 Järvenpää, Uusimaa, Finland
32 Flag of Finland Jaskari, EricaErica Jaskari

G L 18 2017 Lapua, South Ostrobothnia, Finland
27 Flag of Finland Järvinen, RiikkaRiikka Järvinen

D L 20 2018 Kotka, Kymenlaakso, Finland
17 Flag of Finland Katajamäki, NeaNea Katajamäki

F R 23 2013 Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
9 Flag of Finland Laitinen, NelliNelli Laitinen

D L 18 2017 Lohja, Uusimaa, Finland
88 Flag of Finland Lehtopelto, SiruSiru Lehtopelto

D L 24 2014 Lohja, Uusimaa, Finland
16 Flag of Finland Leinonen, EmmiEmmi Leinonen

F L 31 2019 Valkeakoski, Pirkanmaa, Finland
26 Flag of Finland Montonen, AnniAnni Montonen

F L 20 2017 Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
21 Flag of Finland Nuutinen, SofiaSofia Nuutinen

F L 18 2018 Vantaa, Uusimaa, Finland
33 Flag of Finland Paasilinna, HetaHeta Paasilinna

D 15 2020 Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
31 Flag of Finland Pajarinen, TiiaTiia Pajarinen

G L 22 2019 Polvijärvi, North Karelia, Finland
11 Flag of Finland Rajahuhta, AnninaAnnina Rajahuhta

 (C)

F L 31 2012 Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
91 Flag of Finland Rakkolainen, EmmiEmmi Rakkolainen

F L 24 2017 Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
38 Flag of Finland Saarinen, MiraMira Saarinen

F 14 2020
22 Flag of Finland Schalin, JuliaJulia Schalin

F L 15 2020 Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
23 Flag of Finland Talvitie, ElsaElsa Talvitie

F 16 2020 Espoo, Uusimaa, Finland
20 Flag of Finland Valkjärvi, ReettaReetta Valkjärvi

 (A)

F L 24 2015 Hollola, Päijät-Häme, Finland
18 Flag of Finland Vesa, EmiliaEmilia Vesa

F R 19 2020 Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
3 Flag of Finland Viitasuo, EllaElla Viitasuo

 (A)

D L 24 2016 Lahti, Päijät-Häme, Finland
8 Flag of Finland Villilä, TeaTea Villilä

 (A)

D L 29 2016 Hyvinkää, Uusimaa, Finland
68 Flag of Finland Vuosalmi, RoosaRoosa Vuosalmi

F L 14 2020 Vantaa, Uusimaa, Finland
30 Flag of Finland Väyrynen, AlexandraAlexandra Väyrynen

G L 22 2020 Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa
34 Flag of Poland Zielińska, JuliaJulia Zielińska

D L 15 2020 Sanok, Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Poland

2020–21 coaching staff[edit | edit source]

Team captaincy history[edit | edit source]

Head coaches[edit | edit source]

Team honours[edit | edit source]

Finnish Championship[edit | edit source]

  •  Gold Finnish Champions (14): 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019
  •  Silver Runners-up (2): 2010, 2017
  •  Bronze Third Place (8): 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2006, 2016

Note:

  1. Foster, Meredith (2019-03-26). The Espoo Blues are the 2019 Aurora Borealis Cup Champions.
  2. Historia (fi).
  3. Espoo Blues Women - In English (2012).
  4. Hiitelä, Juha (2016-04-12). Konkurssipesä myöntää: Bluesin tilanteeseen ei ratkaisua (fi). Ilta-Sanomat.
  5. Lempinen, Marko (2016-04-28). Nyt se on varmaa: Jussi Salonoja perusti uuden seuran – "Lähetän hakupaperit tänään" (fi). Ilta-Sanomat.
  6. Espoo Unitedin konkurssista tuli virallista (fi). Ilta-Sanomat (2018-05-04).
  7. Espoo United Cuts Women's Basketball & Ice Hockey Teams (en-GB) (2017-08-15).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Oivio, Janne (2017-08-15). Jussi Salonojalta raju ratkaisu: Espoo United hylkää naisjoukkueet (fi). Ilta-Sanomat. “Syy kaksijakoinen: miesten joukkueiden budjetit ovat selvästi suuremmat kuin naisten joukkueissa, eli niiden toiminnan pyörittäminen on vaativampaa, mutta toisaalta juuri ne kiinnostavat sponsoreita ja yleisöä enemmän, Salonoja sanoo.”
  9. Foster, Meredith (2017-08-17). Espoo United women's team folds one month before puck drop.
  10. Tammilehto, Teemu (2017-08-15). HIFK on kiinnostunut Salonojan hylkäämästä Espoo Unitedin naisjoukkueesta (fi). yle.
  11. Espoo Unitedin sarjapaikka Naisten Liigassa Ysikoppi ry:lle (fi-fi). Finnish Ice Hockey Association (2017-09-04).
  12. Saarinen, Joska (2017-09-04). Espoo Unitedin hylkäämä joukkue sai tarvittavat rahat kasaan: "Kumppaneita on sen verran, että uskallamme lähteä kauteen" (fi). yle.
  13. Liiga (W): Kiekko-Espoo (en).
  14. Jokkue 2019-2020 (fi).
  15. Espoo Blues 2018-2019.

IIHF European Women's Champions Cup[edit | edit source]

Season-by-season results[edit | edit source]

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the franchise. The team was called the “Espoo Blues” during the 2015–16, 2017–18, and 2018–19 seasons; “Espoo United” in the 2016–17 season, and “Kiekko-Espoo” in the 2019–20 season.

Note: Finish = Rank at end of regular season; GP = Games played; W = Wins (3 points); OTW = Overtime wins (2 points); OTL = Overtime losses (1 point); L = Losses (0 points); GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; Pts = Points

Season League Regular season Post season results Top scorer (regular season)
Finish GP W OTW OTL L GF GA Pts
2015–16 SM-sarja 2nd 28 19 3 1 5 162 67 64 3 Won bronze medal, 1-0 (Kärpät) Flag of Finland L. Välimäki 70 (31+39)
2016–17 SM-sarja 2nd 28 17 3 1 7 109 68 58 2 Lost final, 2–3 (Kärpät) Flag of Finland L. Välimäki 60 (29+31)
2017–18 Liiga 3rd 30 16 2 4 8 125 74 56 4th: Lost bronze medal, 0-1 (Team Kuortane) Flag of Finland E. Rakkolainen 27 (16+11)
2018–19 Liiga 1st 30 23 1 0 6 164 58 71 1 Won Championship, 3-0 (Ilves) Flag of Finland A. Rajahuhta 66 (36+30)
2019–20 Liiga 1st 30 20 3 2 5 145 60 68 Won semi-final, 3–0 (Team Kuortane);
Finals cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
Flag of Finland E. Rakkolainen 42 (13+29)

Source(s): Finnish Ice Hockey Association[1][2][3][4][5]

Franchise records and leaders[edit | edit source]

Single-season records[edit | edit source]

Career records[edit | edit source]

  • Most career goals: Karoliina Rantamäki, 355 goals (338 games; 1992–2007)
  • Most career assists: Petra Vaarakallio, 351 assists (286 games; 1992–1994, 1995–2006)
  • Most career points: Karoliina Rantamäki, 639 points (338 games; 1992–2007)
  • Best career points per game, over 30 games played: Michelle Karvinen, 3.667 points per game (39 games; 2007–2009)
  • Most career points, defenceman: Minttu Tuominen, 313 points (208 games; 2006–2009, 2013–2016, 2017–2020)
  • Most career penalty minutes: Tea Villilä, 317 penalty minutes (142 games; 2008–2010, 2016–present)

All-time scoring leaders[edit | edit source]

The top-ten point-scorers in franchise history.

Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game;      = current Kiekko-Espoo player; Bold indicates franchise record

Points
Player Pos GP G A Pts P/G
Rantamäki, KaroliinaKaroliina Rantamäki F 338 355 284 639 1.891
Vaarakallio, PetraPetra Vaarakallio F 286 280 351 631 2.206
Rajahuhta, AnninaAnnina Rajahuhta W 206 176 219 395 1.917
Välimäki, LindaLinda Välimäki C 151 174 186 360 2.384
Tuominen, MinttuMinttu Tuominen D 208 108 205 313 1.505
Parviainen, OonaOona Parviainen F 223 119 143 262 1.175
Lallukka, PiiaPiia Lallukka F 195 101 138 239 1.226
Terho, EmmaEmma Terho D 262 54 173 227 0.866
Posa, ChristineChristine Posa W 241 110 104 214 0.888
Sievers, EssiEssi Sievers D 250 71 117 188 0.752

Source(s): Elite Prospects[6]

Notable alumni[edit | edit source]

Years active with Kiekko-Espoo listed alongside players' names.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]


This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Espoo United Naiset. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).



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