The eight Finnish clubs that are participating in the 2016-17 Champions Hockey League met with league officials and local media before the tournament started to discuss this season's competition.
Karpat Oulu has been the most successful Finnish team in the competition's first two seasons, reaching the Semi-Finals in 2014-15 and then hosting the Final last season. Now they want to take the one last step and become club champions of Europe. First up for them will be Group E games against Vitkovice Ostrava and the Krefeld Pinguine.
“I think we're ready. We've got kind of a new team and we're travelling next week to Europe,” said Jouni Loponen, the club's marketing manager. “We're expecting good games in Czech and in Germany next week.”
Another team that is looking to build on what the team accomplished last season is TPS Turku, one of Finland's traditional powerhouse teams that has been improving in recent seasons, both domestically and in the CHL.
“We lost in the Quarter-Finals last season,” recalls Antero Niittymaki, former star goalie who is now TPS's sport director. “We didn't lose any games in regulation – just the two shootout losses, so we're hoping to get better results next season. We'll see, there are a lot of good teams out there.”
The defending Liiga champions are Tappara Tampere, who would like to add some European hardware to their growing trophy case.
“We always want to be successful. Whether it's the CHL or our homeland league, we aim for the highest place, so I'm expecting nothing more than success,” explained Tappara marketing manager Ari Holma.
Also competing from Finland are Lukko Rauma, IFK Helsinki, SaiPa Lappeenranta, JYP Jyvaskyla and KalPa Kuopio.