A big crisis is heating up in Tappara, Tampere, before the new league season begins next month.
According to Ilta-Sanomat, Tappara's head coach Jussi Tapola wants to take the captain's head from long-term captain Jukka Peltola and also from long-term deputy captain Kristian Kuusela.
Tapola made his position clear already at the spring meetings.
However, the captaincy has not yet been decided, and the situation is open.
Peltola and Kuusela would have nothing to do with the new captaincy if Tapola gets his way.
Peltola, 33, who succeeded Tappara in modern times, served as captain for the seasons 2014–18 and, as expected, got C back on his chest after returning from KHL a year ago.
Kuusela, 38, who moved to Tappara in 2013, served as captain during Peltola's KHL seasons and has otherwise been Deputy Captain.
Peltola and Kuusela are Tappara's bright and encouraging leaders, but behind closed doors they have been smoking for a long time between them and head coach Tapola.
The situation escalated last season.
Several Tappara players witnessed the incident, in which Tapola told Kuusela that “your time is over”.
Kuusela, the Nestor of the ax breast and the golden lion, was Tappara's second best scorer last season with a balance of 49 matches 6 + 36 = 42.
Peltola was fifth on the team's internal points exchange after scoring 28 (13 + 15) points in 52 matches.
Jukka Peltola served as Captain of Tappara last season.
Photo: Jukka Ritola / Aamulehti
It is known that Tapola's motive is to rejuvenate Tappara's team.
Under Tapola, who returned as head coach last season, Tappara finished fourth in both the regular season and the playoffs.
When Tappara celebrated the Finnish championship in 2016 and 2017, Peltola, Kuusela and Tapola led the troops, but insider sources already knew then that not everything was well between the head coach and the players.
Head coach Tapola was reluctant to comment to IS on captaincy issues.
- These are internal team issues where roles are discussed.
They are especially not meant for anything outside, Tapola said.
- We have a lot of discussion about roles and responsibilities.
Let them know when it’s time.
Can expect Tappara to select and release his new captain next week.
Tappara's first practice match is against HPK on Friday.
Jussi Tapola, what kind of distances do you have with Jukka Peltola and Kristian Kuusela?
- There are excellent distances with Peltola and Kuusela.
They are our important leading players, Tapola replied.
- Their performance on both the mental and the game side determines a lot of our success.
If the captains are torn off the chest of Peltola and Kuusela, it is worth asking if they can continue on the team.
At the moment, all that is certain is that they have valid player contracts with Tappara.