Ice Hockey Wiki
Ilves Logo.png
City: Flag of Finland Tampere, Finland
League: SM-liiga
Founded: 1931 (1931)
Home Arena: Tampereen jäähalli (capacity 7,600)
Head Coach: Flag of Finland Juha Pajuoja
General Manager: Flag of Finland Esa Honkalehto

Ilves (Finnish for "Lynx") is a Finnish sports club nowadays mostly known for their youth work in sport. Ice hockey team play in the SM-liiga at the Tampereen jäähalli in Hakametsä.

The colors of Ilves, green, yellow and black, were taken from what was then the coat of arms the city of Tampere.


With 16 championships, Ilves is the most successful team in the Finnish championship league, the SM-liiga. The club was founded in the spring of 1931 and they played their first game against Tampereen Palloilijat the next winter. In the late 1930s, Ilves won three Finnish championship titles.

After the Second World War, Ilves started playing their home games at the then new Koulukatu ice rink. They had another championship spree in 1945–47 when they stayed undefeated for over four years (albeit playing only 36 games during that period).

In 1954 Ilves was for the first and so far only time relegated to the second highest level of Finnish hockey but managed to return to the top tier only one year later.

The current logo was designed by Rauno Broms in 1963. In 1965 Ilves moved, along with their local rivals Tappara and Koovee, to the new Hakametsä arena where they still play.

The last Finnish Cup competition in hockey was held in 1971. Ilves won the title and has therefore been the reigning champion since. In 1972 they also won another league championship, their 15th in total.

During the late 1970s, Ilves went through lean times. Finally, when Koovee, which was in no better condition, was relegated at the end of the 1979–80 season, the two clubs decided to sign an agreement of co-operation. The best players of Koovee moved to Ilves, the most notable of them being Risto Jalo.

Banners commemorating championships and retired player numbers of Ilves in Tampereen jäähalli.

In 1985, Ilves claimed their 16th and most recent championship. Along with Risto Jalo, the key players of that team were Raimo Helminen, Mikko Mäkelä, Ville Siren and Jukka Tammi. Repeating this success proved difficult, however, when in the following summer four players left the team to play in the NHL.

In the late '80s, Ilves had another brief stint of moderate success when coached by Sakari Pietilä. They finished first after the regular season in 1988 but were eliminated in the first round of playoffs. The next year they came away with a bronze medal, and finally in 1990 they reached the finals, only to lose to TPS.

For most of the 1990s the club struggled with financial problems and unclear issues concerning ownership. In sports performance the low point was in the spring of 1995 when Ilves finished last in the SM-liiga and had to fight the lower league teams Savonlinnan Pallokerho and Saimaan Pallo for their place among the elite for the next year.

Ilves managed to avoid relegation and was promptly reborn as a viable championship candidate, reaching the semifinals in 1997 and the finals a year after that. No trophies were brought home, however, and the heavy financial investments proved unsound as the club was suddenly facing the risk of bankruptcy in the fall of 1999. By selling players and cutting the wages of the entire organization, Ilves was able to stay afloat.

The 2000s have so far been a fairly mediocre period in Ilves history, with the high point being a bronze medal won in 2001. In 2003 Ilves again finished last in the league but was in no risk of relegation as the league was at that time closed. After that the team has consistently finished in the middle of the standings, being eliminated in the first or second round of the playoffs. The financial situation, however, seems to be more secure than in previous decades.

Current team

Number Player Catches Contract Length Place of Birth
31 Flag of Finland Ville Kolppanen L 2014 Vaasa , Finland
35 Flag of the Czech Republic Jaroslav Hübl L 2013 ChomutovCzech Republic
Number Player Shoots Contract Length Place of Birth
3 Flag of Finland Konsa Mäkinen L 2014 Pirkkala, Finland
6 Flag of Finland Ville Koistinen L 2018 Oulu, Finland
8 Flag of Finland Niko Peltola L 2014 Huittinen, Finland
9 Flag of Finland Aleksi Orenius L 2014 Tampere, Finland
11 Flag of Finland Atte Pentikäinen L 2013 Juupajoki, Finland
12 Flag of Finland Niklas Kumpu R 2014 Tampere, Finland
22 Flag of Finland Miro Hovinen L 2014 Espoo, Finland
23 Flag of Finland Aleksi Mäkelä L 2013 Tampere, Finland
27 Flag of Finland Jarkko Näppilä L 2014 Tampere, Finland
33 Flag of Finland Jyrki Jokipakka L 2014 Tampere, Finland
55 Flag of Finland Teemu Kesä R 2014 Helsinki, Finland
77 Flag of Finland Martti Järventie L 2015 Tampere, Finland
81 Flag of Finland Arto Tukio L 2014 Tampere, Finland
Number Player Shoots Position Contract Length Place of Birth
9 Flag of Finland Alexander Ruuttu R C 2015 Chicago, USA
10 Flag of Finland Antti Hölli L W 2014 Kangasala, Finland
12 Flag of Finland Valtteri Järviluoma L W 2013 Tampere, Finland
15 Flag of Finland Masi Marjamäki L W 2013 Pori, Finland
17 Flag of Finland Mikael Kuronen R C 2013 Tampere, Finland
18 Flag of Finland Erkki Rajamäki L W 2013 Vantaa, Finland
19 Flag of Finland Kai Kantola R W 2014 Raleigh, NC
20 Flag of Finland Ville Korhonen L W 2014 Tampere, Finland
26 Flag of Finland Tuomas Huhtanen L W 2013 Noormarkku, Finland
28 Flag of Finland Samuli Kivimäki R W 2013 Vaasa, Finland
29 Flag of Finland Matias Sointu L W 2013 Tampere, Finland
36 Flag of Finland Lassi Kokkala L C 2013 (2014) Turku, Finland
39 Flag of Finland Tomi Wilenius R C 2013 Nokia, Finland
39 Flag of Finland Jere Laaksonen L W 2013 (2014) Eurajoki, Finland
47 Flag of Finland Mika Viinanen L R 2013 Kaarina, Finland
71 Flag of Finland Michael Keränen L W 2014 Stockholm, Sweden
72 Flag of Finland Tommi Välimaa L W 2013 Kangasala, Finland
75 Flag of Finland Antti Kangasniemi L C 2014 Tampere, Finland


Ilves is the most decorated club in Finnish hockey. In addition to having won more men's championship titles than any other club, they also have that distinction in every junior level (with the exception of junior C (U-16) where Jokerit has one more), and also the most women's hockey championships. In total, Ilves has won 67 national championship titles which is 30 more than the second best has.

In the SM-liiga (and the preceding SM-sarja), Ilves has won the following medals:

  • Gold (16 total): 1936, 1937, 1938, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1966, 1972, and 1985
  • Silver (9 total): 1935, 1948, 1949, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1990, and 1998
  • Bronze (12 total): 1934, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1974, 1975, 1983, 1989, and 2001

Head coaches)

  • Niilo Tammisalo 1931–37
  • Risto Lindroos 1937–41, 1942–46, 1949–53
  • Aarne Honkavaara 1952–61, 1967–68
  • Henry Kvist 1946–49
  • Seppo Helle 1961–64
  • Rauli Virtanen 1964–65
  • Erkki Koiso 1965–66
  • Raimo Vasama 1968–71, 1972–75
  • Juhani Ruusunen 1971–72, 1976–80
  • Len Lunde 1972–73
  • Matti Reunamäki 1974–75
  • Esko Mäkinen 1974–76
  • Raimo Määttänen 1980–82
  • Seppo Hiitelä 1982–87, 1990–91, 2011-2012
  • Matti Kaario 1986–87, 1990–91, 1999*
  • Sakari Pietilä 1987–90, 2006–2009
  • Anatoli Bogdanov 1991–93
  • Jukka Jalonen 1992–95
  • Heikki Vesala 1994–95
  • Vladimir Jursinov jr. 1995–99
  • Heikki Mälkiä 1999–2001, 2009–2010
  • Ari-Pekka Selin 2001–03
  • Teijo Räsänen 2002–03
  • Vaclav Sykora 2003–05
  • Curt Lindström 2004–05
  • Kari Eloranta 2005–06
  • Petteri Hirvonen 2006*
  • Sakari Pietilä 2006–2009
  • Heikki Mälkiä 2009–2010
  • Juha Pajuoja 2010-2011
  • Seppo Hiitelä 2011-2012
  • Raimo Helminen 2012-2013
  • Tuomas Tuokkola 2013-

(* = interim coach)

The seasons 1939–40 and 1941–42 were cancelled because of the war.

Retired numbers

Number 24 has not been retired officially but is not in use. It was last worn by Veikko Suominen who committed suicide during the 1978–79 season.

External links

Flag of Finland.jpg Ice hockey in Finland Flag of Finland.jpg
SM-liiga         BluesHIFKHPKIlvesJokeritJYPKalPaKärpätLukkoPelicansSaiPaTapparaTPSÄssät
Mestis         D TeamHeKiHokkiJokipojatJukuritKiekko-LaserKiekko-VantaaKooKooLeKiSaPKoSportTuTo
Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame
Suomen Jääkiekkoliitto
Men's Finnish National TeamWomen's Finnish National Team