Hjallis Enters the Club
In 1990, the power struggle inside Jokerit was severe as different factions were fighting for their own ideas. These battles brought in Jokerit a lucky break in Harry Harkimo, however.
Known as a strong marketer and his solo sail around the world, Hjallis was persuaded to invest in the club by Kalervo Kummola. After several turns in the road, a year later in February 1991, he acquired the majority of the Jokerit shares and gained decisive power in the club.
In the beginning of 1990, Kari Mäkinen, who coached Jokerit from the division to League level, got a strange side job. He had been appointed as CEO of Jokerit-Hockey Oy. His position as head coach started to falter soon. There was still enough support in the board to keep him coaching for the next season.
When a third of the regular season was played, the situation was looking catastrophic. They were last in the standings, the game was terrible and fans were booing from the stands. In November, Kari Mäkinen was fired.
Boris Majorov, the head coach of Jokerit in the 70s was in Rauma, negotiating for a coaching position at Rauman Lukko. Lukko under Erkka Westerlund had also fallen into a slump. Majorov was not taken by Lukko, and a long-time fan, Jorma Luotonen, started tracking his movement. Kimmo Leinonen got hold of Majorov by phone, and Harkimo and Otila managed to catch him at the Helsinki Railway station just as he was boarding a train to Moscow. On the 15th of November, Majorov returned to Finland to coach Jokerit.
The team had strengthened during the season 1990-91 with a couple of name players and a few promising youngsters. Pekka Järvelä from Sweden, Timo Norppa from Jyväskylä and Antti Törmänen from Espoo had returned into the offense. Kari Suoraniemi came into defence from Sweden. From the 1990 world championships, the club managed to grab two Czechoslovakian defencemen, Mojmir Bozik and Frantisek Prochazka.
Suoraniemi and Prochazka were letdowns. Prochazka was played in several different roles, but nothing seemed to work. “Rono” Järvelä’s comeback season was partly cancelled due to groin problems.