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Teemu Selanne’s Possible Future With Jokerit
By Michael Walters
The Jokerit(aka Jokers) Finnish hockey club recently left the KHL and is looking to return to the SM-Liiga in Finland. The club is also looking to bring in someone to help with the front office and possibly the ownership.
According to Finnish-based news outlet Ilta-Sanomat, Teemu Selanne has interest in the Jokerit situation. Selanne’s representatives are going to meet with members of the Finnish Hockey League to discuss the future of Jokerit and their possible return. At least one informal discussion has taken place already.
We reached out to Selanne and asked him about the situation. He said, “There will be a lot of moving parts. The Russians own the beautiful hockey rink in downtown Helsinki(where Jokerit plays) so in order to get back into the Finnish league you have to own the rink. We could try to find a group who could buy that from the Russians. There will be a lot of sanctions so I don’t know how it would be possible.”
Selanne told us he wouldn’t mind a future role as a partial owner and/or President of Hockey Operations for Jokerit. The team is currently 60% owned by Jari Kurri and 40% owned by the Russian company Norilsk Nickel. In 2013, the chairman of the Jokerit board Harry Harkimo sold ownership of the arena in downtown Helsinki and part of the team to Gennady Timtshenko and Arkadi Rotenburg. One of the shareholders was not happy about the deal and challenged it in court. Eventually the court ruled in favor of Harkimo and Jokerit joined the KHL in the 2014-15 season.
The team withdrew this year from the KHL as soon as the war between Russia and Ukraine started. It appears there is now a chance the team can rejoin the Finnish Hockey League and many would welcome them back. There are also reports Kurri may no longer want to be involved and that’s where Selanne might be able to help out.
Selanne spent three years of junior hockey in Jokerit’s development program from 1989-1992. He started the 1994-95 NHL season with Jokerit due to the NHL lockout. It’s a difficult situation for Jokerit and their future is uncertain, but if anyone can help it would be Selanne.
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March 28th, 2022