Lasse Kukkonen said on Monday that he would end his successful and gradual hockey career at a press conference organized by the Oulu Kärppi.
Read more: Lasse Kukkonen, the big player of the Flies and Lions, ends his hockey career
The career of the long-term Kärppie captain was honored at the press conference by a large part of the club's management.
Juha Junno, who was the CEO of Kärppi until 2017, who is currently a member of the Board of the Kärppä Foundation, was also present.
At the event, Junno also had the opportunity to share his own memories and thoughts about one of the cornerstones of the Fly Dynasty - to his surprise.
- This comes as a bit of a surprise as you saw off the outfit. I just came to listen but suddenly I had to go to the microphone, Junno, wearing shorts and a long-sleeved shirt, started speaking.
The former CEO recalled Kukkonen's first steps in Kärpi in the late 1990s.
- To my recollection, Lasse played his first game against Vaasa Sport away. It was thought with Tam (Juhani Tamminen) that the young boy would be bravely beaten in the game. He survived the game excellently. Lasse was already showing his leadership at the young age, and he has always been a tough fighter. Lasse was quite young with us as captain.
Kukkonen, who has won eight Finnish Championship medals in Kärpi, has also been successful at the national team level. In addition to the World Championship and three other World Championship medals, there are three Olympic medals in the prize cabinet.
- He has played a great career and succeeded internationally wherever he has played, Junno reminded.
However, even more important to Kärpi than Kaukalo's significant achievements was Kukkonen's position as the greatest spiritual leader of the exchange room and locker room.
- Lasse is an exceptional leader. Rarely do you come across a player with that kind of ability to sense, influence, and see things that few see in the locker room.
The career decision did not come as desired when the corona pandemic interrupted the SM league season just before the playoffs began.
- I am delighted that Lasse did this a fine career. Of course, I would have liked another pole to be lifted this spring, but there is nothing we can do about this pandemic. It is important that Lasse was able to make that decision in peace, it is certainly right, Junno said.
Lasse Kukkonen will celebrate the Finnish championship in the spring of 2018.
Photo: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva
Kukkonen will continue in the ranks of Kärppie in the future - in the future on the board of the Kärppäsäätiö, where Lasse's father Jouni Kukkonen once sat.
- I believe that Lasse's experience, vision and leadership have a lot to give to the Oulu puck. I am glad that Lasse continue his father's work Ermine Foundation's Board of Directors.
Junno concluded his speech by summarizing Kukkonen's personality in three words.
- I would say that boy has three hard T's. Knowledge, skill and then comes the third and most important, that is, feeling.