Back to the Bottom
The visit to the Finnish Elite League was not to last. The wonderful season of 1982-83 took a toll financially on the club and the player base. Still, after the silver season, only Pekka Järvelä of the main players moved elsewere. To replace him, Pekka Uusi-Hakimo came in from Ässät.
The coaching of Reino Ruotsalainen got him to the Finnish Olympic Team coaching team. That was probably the deciding factor in dropping Jokerit back to the bottom of the League. Jussi Masala replaced Kari Kinnunen as the assistant coach and got a bit too much to chew as the team was weakened with many of the key players being injured. A seventh place after the regular season was not enough to get to the playoffs. Jokerit had returned to normal life.
During the 1984–85 season, the feeling of sinking continued. At that time, only the top four of the regular season made it to the playoffs, and Jokerit was far off at eighth place. Only the last match saved the club from the relegation qualifiers. Jokerit beat SaiPa and pushed the team from Lappeenranta into the qualifiers.
Jokeriklubin Tuki ry led by Tapani Korpela had taken over the financial responsibility for Jokerit in the beginning of the 1980s and was now getting deeper and deeper into financial difficulties. The financial issues of the club were in the papers all the time, and in May and August the tax office applied for Jokerin Tuki ry bankruptcy. Kalervo Kummola from the Finnish Elite League had to step in to save Jokerit and keep the club going.
The credibility of the club had suffered and Jokerit kept losing on the player transfer market. Only the team goalie Rauli Sohlman and forward Jari Lindroos stayed with the team. Even Lindroos planned to leave for Västra Frölund though, and Sohlman had to take a long break during the Christmas of 1984 due to meningitis.
There was a bitter struggle between two clubs to avoid direct relegation in 1985-86. Jokerit and SaiPa were tied for the last place at the end of the season.
The decisive match was the regular season game in Helsinki in January when the teams met. Jokerit took a 3-2 win on extra time thanks to the power duo Kari Laitinen – Jari Lindroos. At the end of the regular season, SaiPa was relegated to the first division. Jokerit still had to fight for a place in the league in the qualifiers again. It was to be a tough spot. In the last game against KooKoo, Jokerit needed a victory to be able to even get a rematch and a chance of continuing.
The duo Laitinen – Lindroos were saviors again, scoring the winning goal six and a half minutes before the end of the match. Thus TuTo and Jokerit were tied in points at the top of the qualifiers. Only one team could go through to the league, though. The rematch played at Kupittaa ended 4-1 in favor of Jokerit. The last nail was scored by Jarmo Koskinen into an empty goal. Jokerit had been saved yet again.