Strict corona restrictions have made it more difficult for children and young people in the Helsinki metropolitan area to play sports at the end of November, for almost nine weeks.

On Wednesday, the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Corona Coordination Group made a new policy, which will enable junior sports to continue indoors from the beginning of February, ie on Monday.

Ilta-Sanomat asked five different types of clubs how the restrictions caused by the corona pandemic have affected their operations and how the operations will change next week.

Photo: Lehtikuva

Salibandy

EräViikingit is Finland's leading floorball club with almost 2,000 licensed players.

During the corona year, the number of enthusiasts dropped substantially.

- Now the number of licenses has dropped below 1,500, and the reason is mainly Korona, says CEO Jari Oksanen.

According to him, half of that number of enthusiasts has been completely on hiatus.

- It has been possible to organize alternative activities for the second half, for example outdoors.

Especially in hobby groups (once a week) there are a lot of people who have finished the sport and also in the actual teams there has been a small loss.

- Some will come back, but hardly everything, Oksanen ponders.

Due to the inability to organize team drills and form new teams, the club’s finances have been tight.

- We had to cut salaries and allowances in December-January.

If the restrictive measures had continued in February, we would have been laid off, Oksanen says.

EräVikings have teams in the men's and women's leagues.

Their matches have been spinning all the time, but other competition activities have been on hiatus.

According to the guidelines of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Corona Coordination Group, series or tournaments may not be continued yet.

- Games are hoped for, but this intermediate model is a good compromise in the current situation, Oksanen says.

The Tapanila floorball bowl is about 800 square feet in size, so the club’s teams are likely to be able to train there in two groups of ten players.

- And there are already smaller groups in the schools, so there will hardly be any problems with restrictions there either, Oksanen thinks.

Photo: Lehtikuva

Team gymnastics

The activities of Pakila Gymnasts (PNV) involve 650 people.

The club has survived the Korona era with dry feet, although the activity has been partly frozen.

- We have not had any infections or exposures, says coaching coordinator Henni Aro.

Pakilans have their own hall, where the club's Finnish Championship level gymnasts have been able to train as one or two groups during the corona restrictions.

In the future, Malmi Hall will also have access to the other 20 teams of the club and hobby groups.

- We have two spaces in the hall (500 m2 and 200 m2), so you can practice several groups at once.

Since the summer, PNV's operations have followed precise instructions on the use of the training room.

- You get there in stages and try to avoid extra encounters, Aro says.

According to him, the motivation of the enthusiasts has remained and there are hardly any graduates.

- But setting up new groups under the age of 8 has been difficult because parents are reluctant to join in an emergency.

Photo: Lehtikuva

Football

The Helsinki Football Club (HPS) is a traditional football club whose activities moved from Vallila to northern Helsinki at the end of the 20th century.

Today, “Hops” has over a thousand players.

- Exactly 1,053 game passports, says Executive Director Pasi Paakki.

According to Paak, Korona has hampered the operation of green shirts quite a bit.

- We moved from the school halls to the club's own fields and hall.

The very small Naskali rehearsals and family football, where adults play with children, the club had to suspend after the restrictions came into force in late November.

Similarly, the men’s team playing in the Trinity has had to settle for independent individual training.

HPS’s women’s representative team rose to the league at the end of last season, so thanks to league status, it has been able to hold team rehearsals.

Although Kato has not visited the green shirt camp, Paakki fears the effects of the corona break will be seen later.

- If the restrictions have to be revisited, the number of quitters will certainly increase.

He knows from experience that those who have once left the species are not easy to attract back.

- When released, no effort may be required.

Photo: Lehtikuva

Basketball

Tapiola Honka also has its own hall, where the club's basketball players mainly train.

In recent weeks, juniors have been training outdoors.

- Our coaches have used their imagination to come up with different forms of training, says Executive Director Anne Eklund.

Next week, Honka residents will once again have access to their own paradise and school halls.

- We are waiting for information from the city for the rest of the week on how to use the school halls, Eklund says.

In Espoo, basketball is a popular hobby among both boys and girls.

Honka also has teams in many age groups with as many as 30-50 players.

- Now they have to be divided into several small groups.

According to Eklund, it is necessary to follow the guidelines of the corona working group.

- The working group made a bold decision, and we must be worthy of trust.

Honkahall has three entrances, so the groups don’t face each other.

- In addition, we try to arrange for those who attend the same school to train in the same group, so that they do not meet new people, Eklund says about the model that was applied in the company already in the spring after the pandemic broke out.

Honka has about a thousand players, of whom only 60 have been able to practice indoors during the restrictions.

They are players of the representative team or young national teams.

The majority of Honkans have been scrambled in the snow and have only been able to train for 70 percent of their normal hours.

- Still, the membership has been quite calm, Eklund praises.

In the spring, the club had to lay off all its employees for a month.

- Towards the end of the year, we cut our spring 2021 budget, which means we have not had to lay off or lay off in recent weeks.

The number of graduates in Espoo is slightly higher than in other clubs interviewed for this article.

- Thirty have stopped the basket and a couple of thirty have taken a break, Eklund says.

Photo: Lehtikuva

Hockey

The ice rink on Nordenskiöldinkatu has been quite quiet in recent weeks.

In addition to the HIFK league team, only the club's women's league team and 13 players from the youth national teams have practiced there.

In addition to hockey players, “Nordis’ ice has only been consumed by national team-level skill and formation skaters.

JIF Riihinen, HIFK Ishockey’s junior manager in charge of HIFK’s junior operations, had a busy Wednesday when he planned to restart operations next week.

- Fortunately, there is ice in the ice rinks, except for one hall, so standard shifts can rotate, Riihinen says.

He did not know on Wednesday night what all the junior hockey players could do in the exercises because there were no specific instructions in the alignment of the metropolitan corona coordination group.

- It would be good to have a unified line in the HUS area, so that it does not happen that one club takes it calmly in the exercises and tackles in the adjacent trough, Riihinen says.

He hopes that the Finnish Hockey Association will give the clubs instructions that they should act.

According to the policy of the Corona Coordination Group, it is allowed to practice from Monday, but in such a way that “close contacts can be avoided or significantly reduced”.

In addition, the working group considered that “the size of the hobby group must be dimensioned so that participants can maintain a safety distance”.

According to Pirkka Antila, the competition manager of the Finnish Hockey Association, this means that the content of the exercises changes substantially from the normal situation.

- Now you can't play or tackle.

It's a pity, because gaming is the salt of the sport, but you have to follow the instructions, Antila told Ilta-Sanomat on Wednesday.

About 800 players are involved in HIFK's junior activities.

While they’ve had to train for weeks outdoors and in “dodge rooms,” the club’s brand has kept the gang together.

- I only know one player who finished the sport, Riihinen says.