The medals and trophy had long since been handed over, the anthem had been played, all the laps of honor had been completed, and Luc Tardif had one last honor to be honored.

The President of the World Ice Hockey Federation IIHF welcomed a new member to the most exclusive circle his sport has to offer, the Triple Gold Club.

Access is only granted to those who have won the three major titles: the Stanley Cup in the NHL elite league, the Olympics and the World Championship.

Since Sunday evening, this also applies to Valtteri Filppula, 38 years old, captain of the Finnish national team.

Three months after the Olympic victory in Beijing, the team at home in Tampere also won the World Championship.

In a dramatic final with 4-3 goals after extra time against Canada.

Two gold medals in three months

Only as the second nation after Sweden in 2006 did the Finns win both national tournaments in one year - not even the old Soviets had managed that.

What coach Jukka Jalonen had to let sink in: "You don't understand what happened here.

Maybe we can do that in the summer, but two gold medals in three months, that's unbelievable."

Unbelievable is an adjective that is used far too often in sports.

But if you had told the 5.5 million people in Finland just over a decade ago what they would win from now on, you would indeed have met incredulous faces: four gold and three silver medals for men, five gold medals and two silver medals at U20 and U18, eight Olympic and World Championship medals for women.

Even in Canada, they have to acknowledge that no nation makes more of its opportunities.

"Good learning process"

If you ask Harri Nummela what's going on, you get a modest answer.

"We're doing our homework," said the president of the Finnish Ice Hockey Federation in Tampere at the weekend of the FAZ. "We've never had more players or more money than others, but we've focused on a good learning process, a very practical process."

Whether youth or adults, whenever the national teams play, all association coaches would come together afterwards, “analyze what happened, how the game has changed, how we have to react.

This information is immediately shared on the network, with the region coaches, with the club coaches."

"It's a knowledge transfer"

Those regional trainers are an important building block.

It's been around for a good ten years, after the Finns decided to put the millions they had won from their home World Cup into youngsters.

The federation divided the country into eight regions and hired special coaches for each.

They offer additional units for the greatest talents and provide the local clubs with information from world ice hockey or from sports institutes.

"It's a transfer of knowledge," says Nummela.

But knowledge alone is not enough.

You also have to implement it.

And that's where coach Jalonen comes into play, who doesn't mind if he has to do without the majority of the 62 Finnish NHL professionals.

Then he gets the best players from the European leagues and lets them play his almost unbreakable system.

"In terms of individual players, they are not that strong, they win games because they appear with the same identity," said German national coach Toni Söderholm before the Olympics.

And he should know, he's Finnish.

"All the money goes into the program"

Now at the World Cup, this identity was seen again.

In the preliminary round, the hosts conceded only five goals in seven games.

And even when they were behind in all three rounds of the knockout stages, they stayed true to their style.

Also in the final, which went down in history as one of the most spectacular.

The Canadians led 1-0 until the last third, before the Finns turned the game around with a majority - partly due to controversial penalties.

Two and a half minutes before the end, they led 3:1, the almost 11,500 fans in the hall and the millions in front of the screens were celebrating before the Canadians scored two more goals.

So it went into overtime, where every shot can be the last.

It then became that of Sakari Manninen, which made for a long night.

Be it in Tampere, be it in the capital Helsinki, where the station forecourt still looked like a party mile at 3 a.m.

And there should not have been the last time to celebrate.

Association President Nummela has already announced;

“We make several millions of profits with the World Cup, and this is then reinvested in the young talents in the regions.

All the money goes into the program.” Bad news for the rest of the hockey world.

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