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Finland's ties with the Minnesota Wild?

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Old
10-27-2014, 12:33 PM
  #1
PariseNation
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Finland's ties with the Minnesota Wild?

Maybe there is a better place for this but I really want to know more about how our foreign fan-base is dominated by Fins. I want to know more about how big hockey is in Finland and how popular and widespread the Minnesota Wild are. I know little about the popularity of Liiga and about hockey's popularity in comparison to soccer.

I get that we have a large Scandinavian cultural history. Obviously Cap-Finn, Baby-Jesus, Haula, and Backstrom are also pull factors to draw in Finish fans. I still think there is more to this story and am interested in researching the relationship between Minnesota and Finland. Are Granlund or Koivu viewed as a LeBron type figure up there, or do most people not even know who he is?

Obviously Finland has a large presence throughout the entire NHL but it seems that MN significantly exceeds any other team. I am fascinated by the amount of Fins that post on this board and follow the Wild. I have a desire to travel to Finland to scout hockey and party with you people. I'll always root for the Suomi national team too, they just seem like they are extremely kind people off the ice, and always play the right way on the ice.

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10-27-2014, 12:45 PM
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nickschultzfan
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Also, where can I buy a Granlund Suomi national jersey?

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10-27-2014, 12:50 PM
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Koivu is heralded (well the both Koivus are) as the official leader of Leijonat, the mens national hockey team. All of Finland gathers round every year to watch all the national games and Koivu has been the leader there for a long long time (due to Wild being bad so they haven't made the playoffs, therefore Koivu being available for the national team). Granlund is also an icon in Finland after the 2011 WC tournament. Lacrosse goal got made in a stamp and he also legendarily turned down the latest Miss Finland in tabloids, as some paparazzi managed to take a pic. He also played for the top-3 most known teams in Finland, IFK Helsinki which of course boosted his visibility. Also the controversial trade from Kärpät Oulu to IFK was widely covered in media.

Hockey is the number 1 sport in Finland, AINEC. The second sport after that is actually horse racing, followed by soccer and track&field. All the national team players and of course all the NHL players are somewhat national icons in Finland and are very well recognized. Of course there are people who don't care about hockey, but a lot of people care.

Liiga is quite followed in Finland, due to people having their own teams and now the KHL is surging due to Jokerit Helsinki transferring to KHL (and doing really well in their rookie season, currently 3rd in the east). Liiga has lost some credibility and followers due to corrupt commissioners and refereeing scandals, but there is still quite a reasonable market for Liiga and their teams.

Lots of people in Minnesota have Scandinavian ancestry as you said. It's also easy for people to relate to Minnesotan team, as the climate is kinda the same as in Finland and the general characteristics of the Minnesotan people are vaguely similar to Finns. Nice and a bit reserved.

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10-27-2014, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
Also, where can I buy a Granlund Suomi national jersey?
http://www.leijonakauppa.fi/catalogs...lt/?q=granlund

That's the official store but I guess your knowledge if Finnish language is limited. If you really want to place an order I'll be happy to help you with that.

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10-27-2014, 01:04 PM
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Thanks for the insight Sharppi! Exactly what I wanted to know. Open to new/other perspectives as well.

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10-27-2014, 01:24 PM
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At an organizational standpoint, and generally speaking (and I know this isn't the exact point of the thread (without trying to sound like I'm painting a an entire nationality of players with a broad brush)), I imagine the Wild brass have liked drafting Fins because their mentality and work ethic syncs up with what the team has been preaching from the very beginning.

Whether it was Lemaire, Richards or Yeo, they implemented a system that aligned with the type of hockey that Fins are used to playing. GMs drafted them because of their willingness to play in a team construct/"all-for-one, one-for-all, high leadership, able to work & lead by example.

Just my $0.02 with my dime store psychology degree. Beyond the obvious "Koivu and Granlund play here", that seems to make a lot of sense to me. Point? None. Food for thought? Some.

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10-27-2014, 01:28 PM
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Others (with better language skills) can tell more about hockey and history in Finland..

But I started to follow Wild in 2006 when Bäckström took the starter position. Been a soccer and a floorball goalie myself and I've got a soft spot for goalies. First it was Kiprusoff and I was a half-fan of Flames during their cup run, then Bäcks stole my heart.

So started to follow Minnesota more. Of course Koivu and Mittens helped a lot too. But for some reason I became a fan of a whole NHL team for the first time. Not just a fan of a single/few player/s.

I didn't know that much of Scandinavian or Finnish heritage in Minnesota beforehand. Knew something but not that much. It was just because the team and its fans 'felt' right and cozy. After that Finnish prospects started to come and Wild still are kind of Finnish team. So it's nice to have ties still.

And last but not least.. always wanted to be Kari Takko when played street hockey as a kid

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10-27-2014, 01:40 PM
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Started with Koivu and Backstrom several years ago, especially as they were a big part of the 2006 and 2010 Olympics. Granlund really pushed it over the edge.

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10-27-2014, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharppi View Post
http://www.leijonakauppa.fi/catalogs...lt/?q=granlund

That's the official store but I guess your knowledge if Finnish language is limited. If you really want to place an order I'll be happy to help you with that.
Thanks!

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10-27-2014, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W75 View Post
Others (with better language skills) can tell more about hockey and history in Finland..

But I started to follow Wild in 2006 when Bäckström took the starter position. Been a soccer and a floorball goalie myself and I've got a soft spot for goalies. First it was Kiprusoff and I was a half-fan of Flames during their cup run, then Bäcks stole my heart.

So started to follow Minnesota more. Of course Koivu and Mittens helped a lot too. But for some reason I became a fan of a whole NHL team for the first time. Not just a fan of a single/few player/s.

I didn't know that much of Scandinavian or Finnish heritage in Minnesota beforehand. Knew something but not that much. It was just because the team and its fans 'felt' right and cozy. After that Finnish prospects started to come and Wild still are kind of Finnish team. So it's nice to have ties still.

And last but not least.. always wanted to be Kari Takko when played street hockey as a kid
I can't find the map now, but the vast majority of Americans of Finnish and Scandinavian descent, settled in Northern Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Whether it was due to similar climates or just the time period when immigrants made the journey, it's an interesting bit of history.

Edit - You could also throw in Prussian immigrants as well.

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10-27-2014, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Started with Koivu and Backstrom several years ago, especially as they were a big part of the 2006 and 2010 Olympics. Granlund really pushed it over the edge.
Let's not forget the biggest finnish fan magnet Antti Miettinen.

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10-27-2014, 02:19 PM
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And shootout hero Petteri Nummelin!

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10-27-2014, 02:21 PM
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Let's not forget the biggest finnish fan magnet Antti Miettinen.
Let's not forget Nummi either.

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10-27-2014, 02:22 PM
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And shootout hero Petteri Nummelin!
I really and honestly hoped that Nummelin would have succeed! Now Spurgeon does what he couldn't in the NHL.

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10-27-2014, 02:23 PM
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It's kind of interesting looking at the heritage of Minnesota, and where the clusters of ancestries are. German and Scandinavian (with Norwegian being the most prominent of the 3) are definitely the biggest ethnic groups in Minnesota. In my experience, there's a lot of Scandinavian heritage in the immediate MSP suburbs. Then more German and Slavic (Czech, Polish) as you get out into the country more.

I've always liked having Finns on the team, even though I'm not really Finnish (75% Czech), because they all seem like cool guys. And they've mostly been pretty good players for us

If (by if I mean when, obviously) we get to the Stanley Cup Final, we should get all the HFFinns over here for the series. I have a couch somebody can crash on

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10-27-2014, 02:34 PM
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A lot of good Finnish players (Laaksonen, M Koivu, Bäckström, Nummelin, Miettinen and now Granlund, Haula and Kähkönen hopefully in the future), similar team to team Finland (good goalies, not the "biggest" names but good as a team and hardworking players) have made Minnesota Wild the most popular NHL team in Finland.

Became a fan when Koivu started to make the Wild "his" team (2007/08) and I really like Gaborik too. Granlund was a huge bonus as I'm a fan of HIFK. I've always thought that Haula would became a very good player and hopefully he'll encourage more Finns to take the North-American route to NHL.

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10-27-2014, 02:37 PM
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Nummi. That dude had some sick hands.

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10-27-2014, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
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Nummi. That dude had some sick hands.
His shoulder-shimmy thing was something else.

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10-27-2014, 02:51 PM
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For me it was more about Minnesota having Scandinavian ancestry and the playing style, though Koivu helped a bit. Was never a fan of Bäckström or Miettinen. Also it's easy to relate due to close enough climate.

Wherewar Wild

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10-27-2014, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
I can't find the map now, but the vast majority of Americans of Finnish and Scandinavian descent, settled in Northern Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Whether it was due to similar climates or just the time period when immigrants made the journey, it's an interesting bit of history.

Edit - You could also throw in Prussian immigrants as well.
Thanks, good to learn. I would guess that the climate and the Great Lakes had something to do with it. Not that all of them had a possibility to choose.. but could imagine when the first ones settled down, they send letters home and told how good place it was to live. Or something like that.

I actually have some relatives living the US, but realized that I have no clue where. Got to ask from my dad about it. Although they're not from the great migration era, I think they moved a generation ago. So they could be anywhere in the US.

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10-27-2014, 02:59 PM
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For me it started with NHL 01 when Wild and Blue jackets were introduced to the series. I actually wanted to start the franschise mode with Columbus, but my brother picked it (he didn't stick with it) and I was left with the Wild. That team was atrocious (Krivokrasov as the best player, anyone?) but I'm glad I stuck with the Wild in that and all the subsequent games. Started following the NHL more in high school when Koivu was emerging. I certainly am glad that Minnesota has over time become the Finn team.

As for what comes to Koivu's and Granlund's following in Finlabd... It's huge. Granlund I'd say is the most followed athlete in Finland right now and with Selänne's retirement it has become clear. Haula is still pretty unknown for the general public due to him not playing in Liiga, but obviously to anyone remotely following NHL he's familiar. But Granlund and Koivu are household names that everyone in the country knows whether they like hockey or not.

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10-27-2014, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
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but could imagine when the first ones settled down, they send letters home and told how good place it was to live. Or something like that.
Most Finnish immigrants come from Ostrobothnia part of Finland, and there are some villages where a huge percentage of population left to America. So letters from relatives played a huge part in immigration movement, from where they left and where they settled.

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10-27-2014, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
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As for what comes to Koivu's and Granlund's following in Finlabd... It's huge. Granlund I'd say is the most followed athlete in Finland right now and with Selänne's retirement it has become clear. Haula is still pretty unknown for the general public due to him not playing in Liiga, but obviously to anyone remotely following NHL he's familiar. But Granlund and Koivu are household names that everyone in the country knows whether they like hockey or not.
And really interesting thing is that for the younger generation, Mikko Koivu is the actual Koivu. Of course everyone still knows Saku, but Mikko has really become the leader for the younger fans in Finland. Or at least that's how I see it.

The lil'bro syndrome was the biggest threat to Mikko's career in the early days, but 2011 WC gold changed it for good.

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10-27-2014, 03:19 PM
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I've never started rooting for a team for the same reason, whatever sport that may be. The teams have been underdogs when I've started to root for them.

I started watching NHL occasionally in 2010 (I think the first game was MIN-ANA). The Wild were playing playing like us Finns are taught in sports, disciplined. It resembled the Finnish national team, which was basically all I cared about when it came to hockey. It's really sentimental, the whole rooting thing. It can be one game or even one shift that makes you a fan of a team.

Gotta mention that the Finnish Wild fans are looked a bit down on at the moment. We're considered as the group of only-cares-about-hockey-because-of-Finns-there, AKA bandwagoners. It's silly but what can you do. Apparently you're a truer NHL fan if you like a team that has as few Finns as possible. E.g. the Hawks' and the Pens' fans have a seal of approval.

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10-27-2014, 03:19 PM
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For me personally, it was the amount and popularity of Finns on the team.

As for the popularity of hockey in Finland, it is easily the #1 sport. But mostly just the Liiga and the national team for the casual fans. It takes a bit more dedication to follow the NHL.

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