View Single Post
12-03-2012, 09:43 AM
Rob Scuderi
Registered User
Rob Scuderi's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Country: United States
Posts: 3,378
vCash: 500
C, Veli-Pekka Ketola

Finnish League and International Accomplishments
x6 Finnish Elite League All-Star Team ('68-'71, '74, '78-'79)
x2 Finnish Player of the Year ('74, '81)
member of Finnish HHOF

SM sarja Scoring: 168-116-284 points in 255 GP
Placements: 1st in '71, 4th in '68, 5th in '70, 7th in '73, 8th in '74, 9th in '67, 11th in '69, 18th in '72

SM-liiga Scoring: 95-155-250 points in 144 GP
Placements: 1st in '79, 2nd in '78, 4th in '80, 4th in '81

World Championship Scoring/Placements (Overall/Team): 22-14-36 points in 53 WC GP - (10,17,19,26) 10/1 in '74, 17/3 in '70, 19/2 in '71, 26/7 in '72
Olympic Scoring/Placements (Overall/Team): 4-6-10 points in 10 OG GP - 9/2 in '68, 22/3 in '72
0 points in 10 Canada Cup GP

WHA and NHL Accomplishments
x1 Avco Cup winner ('76)

WHA Scoring/Placements: 84-89-183 pts in 235 WHA GP - 35 in '77, 39 in '76
NHL Scoring: 9-5-14 points in 44 GP

Originally Posted by Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame
Veli-Pekka Ketola was the most famous forward in Finnish hockey in the 1970’s. He was also perhaps the first Finnish player to make an impact in North American hockey rinks.

Ketola made his big-time debut in the Finnish Lions at the Olympic Games of 1968 in Grenoble. After leading the Lions in scoring at the World Championship of 1974 in Helsinki he received an offer from the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association (WHA). Ketola and defender Heikki Riihiranta became the first Finnish trained players in North American major league hockey. In 1976 he won the WHA championship (Avco Trophy) with the Jets. In the same year Ketola was traded to the Calgary Cowboys, but when that team folded in next spring he decided to return to Finland to his home town club Ässät.

In 1981 Ketola returned to North America for one more season with the Colorado Rockies in the NHL. He retired from the rinks a year later. The award for the best scorer in points in the regular season of the Finnish SM-liiga is named after Veli-Pekka Ketola.

Originally Posted by Legends of Hockey
Veli Pekka Ketola was one of the pioneering players from Finland to cross the Atlantic. As a 20 year old, he was invited to the Detroit Red Wings' training camp together with legendary Swedish defenseman Lennart Svedberg.

Ten years later, the situation had changed dramatically. A Finn had played at the side of Wayne Gretzky in winning the Stanley Cup and Finns had participated in All-Star games. The scouts had begun to expand their recruitment drive to take in Europeans.

In the 1974 World Championship, Ketola showed that he was a leader on the international level and offers of a professional career started to come in. The only surprise came when he signed a contract not with the Detroit Red Wings, who held his NHL rights, but with the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA.

In Finland, Ketola's number 13 was already legendary, but in North America he wasn't allowed to use it. In Winnipeg, he became number 12. Playing for Winnipeg, he had the good fortune to be part of a winning franchise led by hockey's first $1 million man, Bobby Hull. At the time, Hull was being ably assisted by a pair of Swedes, center Ulf Nilsson and right wing Anders Hedberg. Nilsson's predominant role with the team left centerman Ketola without much ice time. Nevertheless, he managed to end his WHA career with a respectable 183 points in 235 games. The highlight of his years in the World Hockey Association was his second season, when the Jets won the Avco Cup. He'd signed a three-year pact with Winnipeg, but during his final year, 1976-77, he was traded to the Calgary Cowboys.

Ketola then returned to Finland to play, but in 1981 he returned for a second stint in North America, this time with the Colorado Rockies of the NHL. He lasted one season and 44 games. Ketola had the size necessary for an NHL player, but the powers that be felt that he didn't use his gifts to full advantage. Ketola, who was brought up in the European mold and taught that technique came before physique, didn't like that attitude.

On the international level, Finland didn't have much success during his era. Making matters worse was the doping scandal in 1974 involving the unfortunate goalie Stig Wetzell. Finland was on the brink of winning its first medal, only to have a key 5-0 victory over Czechoslovakia reversed when Wetzell tested positive. Wetzell has never admitted to any wrongdoing and there is even reason to believe that members of his own national team unfairly targeted him. The net result was that first Wetzell and then Ketola refused to play on the national team again.

The goalie never went back on his promise, but Ketola rescinded his boycott to participate in three more World Championship tournaments. Even though he lost some key years in his international career, he still makes the all-time top 10 list with the national team with 105 points in 186 games. The latter mark ranks sixth in team history, as do his 60 goals.

In Finland, Ketola helped his hometown of Pori win three national titles. The first one came in 1965 with the club nicknamed Karhut (the Bears). Two years later, the two hockey clubs in Pori joined forces and became known as Assat (the Aces). In the 1970s, Assat won two national championships, both times with Ketola as the team's top scorer.
Originally Posted by The Leader-Post - 9/2/1976
Veli-Peka Ketola is a centre who reminds Kromm of Phil Esposito. "He shoots well and can direct traffic in front of the net."

Originally Posted by The Calgary Herald - 4/24/1976
Ketola has been a Cowboy killer all season with eight goals but he had something extra saved up for this one. Ketola is a physical giant. Friday he played like one, refusing to be moved off the puck at any time when controlling play completely at both ends of the rink.

Rob Scuderi is offline   Reply With Quote