I'll admit, if you asked me 1998 who the Finnish national teams starting goalie was in Nagano, I wouldn't be able to give you an answer.
Jarmo Myllys, after he was Bure'd Ari Sulander played in the bronze game.
Originally Posted by canuckster19
I'm wondering what changed in Finnish hockey programs to produce much better goaltenders?
Post 2000... Kiprusoff, Backström, Lehtonen, Rinne, Rask, Niemi...
Pre 2000... Kari Takko... ?
Coaching. The coaching magic had already started a lot earlier but as the major change was in junior coaching it took time to show.
If you look at the age of our goalies, you notice that all of a sudden talented goalies start to emerge from the same age onward..
1975 Jussi Markkanen, Jani Hurme, Pasi Nurminen (3x NHL)
1976 Miika Kiprusoff (NHL)
1977 Juuso Riksman, Petri Vehanen (both good enough to have had at least a shot at an NHL job)
1978 Niklas Bäckström (NHL)
1979 Mika Noronen (NHL)
1980 Antero Niittymäki, Tuomas Tarkki (NHL + good enough)
1981 Ari Ahonen (ruined by the Devils imho)
1982 Pekka Rinne (NHL)
1983 Kari Lehtonen, Antti Niemi (NHL)
1984 Miika Wiikman (spent 3yr's in AHL knocking on door of NHL job)
1985 Iiro Tarkki (just signed by Anaheim)
1986 Karri Rämö (NHL)
1987 Tuukka Rask (NHL)
just a quick selection from names that came to my mind. Basically nothing prior to that, and after that something worth drafting (either a starter, backup or put up a very good challenge for job) every single year.