Archive for Finnish hockey

NHL Refugees Flee Finland’s SM-liiga


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Jokerit Helsinki’s Swedish import ERIK KARLSSON (65), the talented Ottawa Senators star who totaled 78 points (19 goals) in 81 NHL contests while winning the the James B. Norris Trophy as the elite North American circuit’s best defenseman for the 2011/12 campaign, led all National Hockey League ‘victims’ of the recently resolved “Lock-Out” situation on the scoring chart in the Finnish elite league (SM-liiga) this season.
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The National Hockey League refugee who scored the most goals in the Finnish top flight this term was developing Phoenix Coyotes winger MIKKEL BOEDKER, the 23-year-old former first round draft pick (2008, # 8 overall) who has appeared with Denmark at the annual IIHF World Championshps on two occasions (12 ga, 6 go, 8 pts) in his career. The top-scoring Finnish NHLer who returned home to skate in the SM-liiga turned out to be exiled Assat Pori left wing JESSE JOENSUU, the 25-year-old who re-signed with the New York Islanders this past summer after spending the entire 2011/12 campaign with Swedish elite league outfit HV 71 Jonkoeping. The North American NHLer with the most points in Finland this season was Canadian legionnaire RICH PEVERLEY of JYP Jyvaskyla, the former St. Lawrence University center who lifted the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011.

2012/13 SM-liiga Season – Exiled NHLers Scoring Chart
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34 pts ….. 9 go … 25 as … 30 ga …… E. KARLSSON, Jokerit Helsinki
33 pts … 21 go … 12 as … 29 ga …… M. BOEDKER, Lukko Rauma
25 pts … 11 go … 14 as … 24 ga …… J. JOENSUU, Assat Pori
24 pts ….. 4 go … 20 as … 27 ga …… F. NIELSEN, Lukko Rauma
23 pts ….. 9 go … 14 as … 29 ga …… R. PEVERLEY, JYP Jyvaskyla
21 pts ….. 7 go … 14 as … 21 ga …… J. JOKINEN, Karpat Oulu
21 pts ….. 5 go … 16 as … 30 ga …… J. DEMERS, Karpat Oulu
19 pts ….. 7 go … 12 as … 21 ga …… K. TURRIS, Karpat Oulu
17 pts ….. 6 go … 11 as … 11 ga …… L. KORPIKOSKI, TPS Turku
17 pts ….. 7 go … 10 as … 20 ga …… J. HANSEN, Tappara Tampere
15 pts ….. 5 go … 10 as … 15 ga …… L. ELLER, JYP Jyvaskyla
15 pts ….. 6 go ….. 9 as … 16 ga …… V. FILPPULA, Jokerit Helsinki
15 pts ….. 5 go … 10 as … 27 ga …… P. LARSEN, Lukko Rauma
14 pts ….. 2 go … 12 as … 15 ga …… K. RUSSELL, TPS Turku
11 pts … 11 go ….. 0 as … 26 ga …… L. PETRELL, IFK Helsinki
10 pts ….. 5 go ….. 5 as … 10 ga …… M. KOIVU, TPS Turku

8 pts …… 4 go ….. 4 as ….. 8 ga …… C. SMITH, Kalpa Kuopio
8 pts …… 4 go ….. 4 as … 15 ga …… A. MIETTINEN, HPK Hameenlinna
7 pts …… 1 go ….. 6 as ….. 7 ga …… M. PERREAULT, IFK Helsinki
6 pts …… 2 go ….. 4 as ….. 8 ga …… D. PAILLE, Ilves Tampere
6 pts …… 3 go ….. 3 as … 12 ga …… M. TALBOT, Ilves Tampere
6 pts …… 2 go ….. 4 as … 12 ga …… K. SHATTENKIRK, TPS Turku
5 pts …… 2 go ….. 3 as … 15 ga …… S. ROBIDAS, IFK Helsinki
4 pts …… 2 go ….. 2 as … 12 ga …… D. STEPAN, Kalpa Kuopio
3 pts …… 0 go ….. 3 as ….. 6 ga …… J. BRAUN, Tappara Tampere
2 pts …… 1 go ….. 1 as … 11 ga …… A. MARTINEZ, TPS Turku
1 pts …… 1 go ….. 0 as ….. 2 ga …… S. BERGENHEIM, IFK Helsinki
1 pts …… 0 go ….. 1 as ….. 7 ga …… J. MCBAIN, Lahti Pelicans
0 pts …… 0 go ….. 0 as ….. 1 ga …… C. EMMERTON, Saipa Lappeenranta

2.33 avg … 93.0% svpct … 13 ga …… A. LINDBACK, Ilves Tampere
2.68 avg … 91.2% svpct ….. 6 ga …… O. PAVELEC, Lahti Pelicans
3.11 avg … 90.5% svpct … 10 ga …… A. NIEMI, Lahti Pelicans

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Lahti Pelican’s imported American defenseman DANNY RICHMOND (36), the former University of Michigan blueliner who split last season in the American Hockey League between the Hershey Bears and the Lake Erie Monsters, and the referee both watch closely as exiled NHL netminder ONDREJ PAVELEC, the 25-year-old Winnipeg Jets goaltender who has appeared with the Czech Republic at three major international tournaments thus far in his career (9 ga, 2.01 avg, .954 svpct), stretches out to make the save during the SM-liiga contest with host TPS Turku at the HK Arena (old Turkuhalli) in Finland.

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Eisbaeren Berlin Add Canadian Transfer From Finnish Club TPS Turku


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The offense of EISBAEREN BERLIN had started to sputter long before the “Lock-Out” situation in the National Hockey League was ended and exiled Philadelphia Flyers right wing DANNY BRIERE, the star Canadian legionnaire who racked up 34 points (10 goals) in only 21 Deutsche Eishockey Liga games, was summoned back to North America. Indeed, in the last 14 contests in all competitions for the defending D.E.L. champions, the Eisbaeren attack has only scored four or more goals on just four occasions. This despite the return of last season’s leading scorer, DARIN OLVER, the Canadian legionnaire who has certainly done his part to contriube nine goals in 19 games since returning from a crippling hip injury.

Thus, it should come as no great shock that Eisbaeren Berlin have ventured into the transfer market and signed Canadian legionnaire COREY LOCKE from Finnish elite league side TPS Turku.

A prolific scorer at the American Hockey League level, the 28-year-old center signed a contract with TPS Turku that, reportedly, made Locke the highest-paid ice hockey player in all of Finland after departing the AHL’s Binghamton Senators this past summer. However, after a decent beginning for the Finnish club in the European Trophy tournament, a lack of overwhelming point production in the SM-liiga from Locke left TPS Turku, who currently stand 12th out of 14 teams in the Finnish elite league, to start thinking about other options. Enter the reigning German titlist to acquire the small but skilled player who won both the AHL’s Most Valuable Player award as well as the AHL scoring title two seasons ago while skating in Binghamton.

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TPS Turku’s expensive Canadian legionnaire COREY LOCKE (84) slips the puck past JYP Jyvaskyla goaltender TUOMAS TARKKI (40), the 32-year-old veteran who played four years of NCAA college hockey at the University of Northern Michigan (where he was a teammate of Eisbaeren Berlin center Darin Olver) and one season in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves before returning to Europe several years ago, under the watchful eye of the match referee during the shootout phase of the SM-liiga contest at the HK Arena (formerly known as the Turkuhalli) earlier this season.
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Eisbaeren Berlin are hoping that the talented Locke, who lifted the Calder Cup with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2007 and again in 2011 with the Binghamton Senators, will return to the sort of form that saw the NHL draft choice of the storied Montreal Canadiens accumulate a total of 363 points (117 goals) from 338 regular season games in his last five seasons at the AHL level.

Locke recorded two goals and six assists in eight European Trophy contests for TPS Turku, who did not qualify for the 2012 Red Bull Salute – European Trophy Finals tournament co-hosted by Bratislava and Vienna this past December. TPS Turku’s expensive Canadian legionnaire did lead all players with 13 “stars” during the competition and, as a result, received the European Trophy Best Forward designation this season. Locke struggled in the Finnish elite league somewhat, though, and did not maintain the same pace with only 17 points in 37 SM-liiga games this term.

Clearly, the diminutive Locke is a prototypical “open-ice” player who simply does not have the size or strength to effectively compete for the puck along the boards and / or in heavy traffic. The veteran who skated a total of nine NHL games (0 go, 1 as) for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators in his career is also not known as one to consistently and diligently track back on defense nor is the Canadian legionnaire noted for great skating skills or blazing speed. But the playmaking Locke does possess magical hands in addition to excellent “hockey sense”.

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COREY LOCKE had a banner 2010/11 campaign for the Calder Cup champion Binghamton Senators and averaged a career-high 1.246 points-per-game in the American Hockey League while winning the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL scoring champion in addition to the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL Most Valuable Player for the regular season.
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Eisbaeren Berlin general manager PETER JOHN LEE, who was, himself, a first round selection (# 12 overall) of the Montreal Canadiens at the 1976 National Hockey League Draft, stated that the reason Locke became available for transfer was because TPS Turku were looking to strengthen their inadequate defense in a last-ditch effort to qualify for the SM-liiga playoffs. The fact that the Canadian legionnaire who appeared in the AHL All-Star Game on four occasions in his career was drawing a salary of 330,000 Euros was not discussed. Nor was there any mention of what Locke’s compensation will be working in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.

Whatever the case, Eisbaeren Berlin have been skating with less than the allowable number of players for some time now on account of injuries and other factors so an additional forward on the roster certainly will not hurt the capital city club one bit.

Locke, for the record, does have previous experience skating with Eisbaeren Berlin’s current Canadian legionnaires JULIAN TALBOT and MATT FOY during his time in junior hockey with the Ottawa 67′s of the Ontario Hockey League.

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A close-range shot from Ottawa Senators center COREY LOCKE (37) is turned aside by New York Islanders goaltender KEVIN POULIN (60), the fifth round selection (# 126 overall) at the 2008 NHL Draft who is currently tending the nets for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the American Hockey League, during the National Hockey League contest at the Nassau County Memorial Coliseum on Long Island in January of 2011.
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COREY LOCKE … center … 28 years old … 5’9″ – 165 lbs
NHL Draft : Montreal Canadiens, 2003 (4th rd, # 113 overall)
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04/05 … 43 pts … 16 go … 27 as … 78 ga … AHL – Hamilton Bulldogs
05/06 … 59 pts … 19 go … 40 as … 77 ga … AHL – Hamilton Bulldogs
06/07 … 55 pts … 20 go … 35 as … 80 ga … AHL – Hamilton Bulldogs
07/08 ….. 0 pts ….. 0 go ….. 0 as ….. 1 ga … NHL – MONTREAL CANADIENS
07/08 … 72 pts … 30 go … 42 as … 78 ga … AHL – Hamilton Bulldogs
08/09 … 79 pts … 25 go … 54 as … 77 ga … AHL – Houston Aeros
09/10 ….. 0 pts ….. 0 go ….. 0 as ….. 3 ga … NHL – NEW YORK RANGERS
09/10 … 85 pts … 31 go … 54 as … 76 ga … AHL – Hartford Wolf Pack
10/11 ….. 1 pts ….. 0 go ….. 1 as ….. 5 ga … NHL – OTTAWA SENATORS
10/11 … 86 pts … 21 go … 65 as … 69 ga … AHL – Binghamton Senators
11/12 … 41 pts … 10 go … 31 as … 38 ga … AHL – Binghamton Senators
12/13 … 17 pts ….. 5 go … 12 as … 37 ga … Fin — TPS Turku

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Hamilton Bulldogs center COREY LOCKE (84), the former fourth round NHL draft choice of the famed Montreal Canadiens who had just scored 20 goals after 80 AHL regular season games, led all participants with 10 more goals in 22 playoff contests as the Canadiens' farm club gleefully skated its way to the 2007 Calder Cup title.

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Highest-Paid Players In Finnish Elite League


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TPS Turku’s pricey Canadian legionnaire COREY LOCKE (84), the 28-year-old center who skated in just nine National Hockey League contests (0 go, 1 as) for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators over the course of eight years as a professional in the North American ranks, reportedly had the distinct honor of being the player with the highest annual salary in the entire Finnish elite league until his very recent transfer to defending Deutsche Eishockey Liga champions Eisbaeren Berlin in Germany; the diminutive Locke, who missed more than half of last season with the Binghamton Senators in the American Hockey League on account of injury, had a sensational 2010/11 campaign for Binghamton and won both the AHL scoring title as well as the AHL Most Valuable Player award that year.
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According to a report published by the Finnish sports magazine “VEIKKAAJA” at the beginning of this 2012/13 ice hockey campaign, the list of the highest paid players in the entire SM-LIIGA this season would comprise of the following :

330,000 Euro – $ 438,040 … 28 – c, Corey LOCKE (Can), TPS Turku
300,000 Euro – $ 398,220 … 27 – c, Stephen DIXON (Can), Assat Pori
280,000 Euro – $ 371,670 … 37 – c, Eric PERRIN (Can), JYP Jyvaskyla
280,000 Euro – $ 371,670 … 39 – lw, Ville PELTONEN, IFK Helsinki
280,000 Euro – $ 371,670 … 32 – d, Ossi VAANANEN, Jokerit Helsinki
270,000 Euro – $ 358,400 … 31 – c, Ilari FILPPULA, Jokerit Helsinki
260,000 Euro – $ 345,125 … 31 – g, Johan BACKLUND (Swe), Karpat Oulu
250,000 Euro – $ 331,850 … 32 – c, Riku HAHL, Jokerit Helsinki
250,000 Euro – $ 331,850 … 37 – lw, Jarkko RUUTU, Jokerit Helsinki
240,000 Euro – $ 318,575 … 35 – g, Petri VEHANEN, Lukko Rauma

(Note — conversion rates from Euros into U.S. dollars are rounded off and as of January 14, 2013)

Jokerit Helsinki center ILARI FILPPULA, the 31-year-old whose younger brother, Valterri, is an experienced veteran earning a reported $ 3.0 million U.S. dollars with the Detroit Red Wings in the National Hockey League this term, is currently the leading scorer in the crack SM-liiga with 47 points this season. Assat Pori’s productive legionnaire STEPHEN DIXON, the 27-year-old center who appeared with the national select side of Canada for the 2012 Deutschland Cup earlier this past fall, is one of three players tied for second in the Finnish elite league with 42 points this term. Dixon, who skated three years in the American Hockey League (240 ga, 46 go, 115 pts) with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins and Portland Pirates before signing with Swedish Elitserien club IF Brynas Galve in the summer of 2008, also leads the SM-liiga with 33 assists this season, as well.

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TPS Turku’s expensive Canadian legionnaire COREY LOCKE (84), the former American Hockey League MVP and scoring champion who managed to register five goals and 17 points in 37 Finnish elite league games this season until his departure for Deutschland, skates in on IFK Helsinki goaltender JONI ORTIO, the talented 21-year-old who is out on loan from the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League, during an SM-liiga contest earlier this season.
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With TPS TURKU stuck in twelfth place out of fourteen teams and on the outside looking in on the Suomen mestaruus liiga (Finnish championship league) playoff picture at present, it is, perhaps, not so hard to understand why underachieving Canadian legionnaire COREY LOCKE might have suddenly become available for immediate transfer to defending German champion Eisbaeren Berlin …

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Eisbaeren Blank Karpat Oulu In Berlin


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Eisbaeren Berlin’s attack-minded defenseman MARK KATIC is denied at the side of the net by Karpat Oulu goaltender TOMI KARHUNEN, the 22-year-old who finished last season out on loan to HC Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia, as youthful center JOONAS HUOVINEN (12) anxiously chases the play for the visitors to the O2 World Arena during the pivotal European Trophy contest in the capital city of Germany.
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A first strike just 38 seconds into the contest and 37 saves from the national team goaltender enabled contemporary German powerhouse EISBAEREN BERLIN to register a critical 3-0 triumph over visiting Finnish club KARPAT OULU and recapture second place in the North Division of the 2012 European Trophy tournament.

Third-year American defender JIMMY SHARROW netted the first of what would be his two goals in the match to effectively shock Karpat Oulu, the collectors of four Finnish domestic titles from 2004 thru 2008, right at the outset. And then Berlin’s new adventuresome rearguard, the diminutive but talented MARK KATIC, whacked a puck out of the air past visiting goaltender TOMI KARHUNEN with less than two minutes until the first intermission. Karpat Oulu, who ended seventh out of fourteen teams in the Finnish elite league last term, would go on to outshoot their hosts by a wide margin for the game but it was a futile effort.

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Trainer DON JACKSON, a rugged product of the University of Notre Dame who later skated 315 games for the Minnesota North Stars, Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers in the National Hockey League and represented the United States at the annual IIHF World Championships in both 1978 (hosted by Prague) and 1979 (contested in Moscow), took charge of EISBAEREN BERLIN in the summer of 2007 after first adjusting to life in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga by guiding EG Duesseldorf for two seasons.
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That on account of Eisbaeren Berlin veteran ROB ZEPP, the 31-year-old workhorse who was busy reducing his goals-against-average in the European Trophy to a sparkling 1.62 per game while pushing his save percentage up to an impressive 95.7 percent. It should be remembered that, prior to signing with the German capital city club in the summer of 2007, Zepp had put in two seasons with Saipa Lappeenranta in the Finnish top flight. Not surprisingly, the Canadian-born version of the Berlin Wall was selected as first star of the European Trophy match with Karpat Oulu at the O2 World Arena.

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Germany goaltender ROB ZEPP (72) of Eisbaeren Berlin, who was selected by both the Atlanta Thrashers (in 1999) and the Carolina Hurricanes (in 2001) in the fourth round of the annual National Hockey League Draft, turns away Russia forward ALEXEI TERESCHENKO (23) of Ak Bars Kazan, the third round selection of the Dallas Stars at the 2000 NHL Draft, at the side of the net during the dramatic semifinal match of the 2010 IIHF World Championships at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne.
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A second goal from Sharrow, the 27-year-old import who is beginning his third season with Eisbaeren Berlin, set the final scoreline before even half of this European Trophy contest had been completed. The native of Framingham, Massachusetts, continued his red-hot goal-scoring ways, then, as five goals from seven games in this year’s European Trophy tournament equaled his total from a baker’s dozen contests in last spring’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga playoffs. Sharrow, who was chosen by the Atlanta Thrashers in the fourth round (# 110 overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft but progressed no higher than the American Hockey League, scored seven goals in 52 games during the 2011/12 D.E.L. regular season.

No other defenseman at this 32-team European Trophy tournament can match Sharrow’s goal-scoring record.

Veteran center T.J. MULOCK, the 27-year-old native of British Columbia who represented Germany at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, was involved in the first two goals for Eisbaeren Berlin and now boasts a European Tournament-leading 10 assists, as well.

Eisbaeren Berlin captain ANDRE RANKEL, another member of the Germany squad at the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Canada, also had two assists for the victorious home side against the Finnish visitors Karpat Oulu.

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Eisbaeren Berlin defenseman MARK KATIC, the third round (# 62 overall) choice of the New York Islanders at the 2007 NHL Draft who crossed the Atlantic Ocean this summer after three seasons with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the American Hockey League, follows his shot past youthful Karpat Oulu goaltender TOMI KARHUNEN (33) in the first period of the European Trophy contest at the O2 World Arena in the German capital city … Karhunen has been sharing European Tropthy time in the Karpat Oulu nets with Swedish veteran JOHAN BACKLUND, the 31-year-old former Philadelphia Flyers farmhand who made one appearance for the Adirondack Phantoms in the AHL in addition to just one other with the Trenton Titans in the East Coast Hockey League last term before transferring to the northern Finnish club in January … Backlund, who started six games for fourth place Sweden at the 2007 IIHF World Championships held in Russia, had played 74 AHL games for Adirondack Phantoms the previous two seasons combined.
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Eisbaeren Berlin’s new Canadian legionnaire MARK KATIC (71) celebrates a spectacular strike on behalf of his new employers in opening frame of the European Trophy contest with visiting Finnish side Karpat Oulu … Katic, who skated eleven NHL games while posting an assist for the New York Islanders during the 2010/11 schedule, leads all defensemen in the this European Trophy tournament with nine points (three goals) from seven games thus far.
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An urgent victory for Eisbaeren Berlin, even if the two-time defending champion who have won the German domestic title four times in the past five years cannot catch Swedish club HF Lulea for the top spot in the North Division. Despite having one October game with the table-toppers away in Sweden remaining on the schedule, Jackson’s troops have clinched second place in their own group and, with 16 points from seven contests, are currently positioned best among all other division runners-up in the race for the Red Bull Salute playoff tournament this coming December.

At least one of the four 2nd place finishers from the four divisions will have to make way for Slovakian side HC Slovan Bratislava, who have no hope to qualify from their group but get automatic passage to the playoffs this year as co-host of the Red Bull Salute. HC Vienna Capitals do have two European Trophy matches to play and could easily finish second in the South Division. If the Austrian club does not, then another 2nd place team will also be harshly eliminated from the final tournament consisting of eight teams.

At this late point in the race for the Red Bull Salute, only HF Lulea and fellow Swedish side HV 71 Jonkoeping have clinched their places at the Red Bull Salute as division champions while, at present, Finnish outfit Tappara Tampere and Swiss club EV Zug are the other two division leaders.

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Eisbaeren Berlin defenseman JIMMY SHARROW, an American who played his junior hockey in Canada for the Halifax Mooseheads before laboring five years for seven different clubs in the North American minor leagues, pursues the pass of Karpat Oulu right wing JUHO KERONEN (19) during the European Trophy contest witnessed by 6,800 spectators at the O2 World Arena in the capital city of Germany.
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Almost half a century ago, another American defender from Massachusetts named John F. Kennedy arrived in the very same city that the Eisbaeren hockey club now calls home and made the famous proclamation, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” … this 2012/13 campaign marks the third consecutive season that two-time Deutsche Eishockey League titlist JIMMY SHARROW can say the exact same thing.

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