The Silver Sensation
The 1982-83 season was finally a brighter phase. Reino "Pappa" Ruotsalainen, the new head coach and father of defenceman Reijo Ruotsalainen, was able to acquire quality players and produce a sensation during the winter.
Russian Nikolai Makarov was the engine of the team. Young and promising Pekka “Rono” Järvelä along with Hannu Oksanen who arrived from Kuopio with the new head coach and Jari Lindgren from Tappara revitalized the team. Lindgren was a product of the Jokerit junior system. Pekka Strander from Rauma and Hannu Jalonen from Oulu joined Makarov in the defence.
The first games of the autumn were not glamorous, but little by little the sensation started brewing. Jokerit led HIFK by five points after the regular season. The two best teams went straight to the semifinals, where both Helsinki-based teams defeated their opponents from Tampere in Tappara and Ilves. The time was ripe for the final of the century.
In the finals, Jokerit only got a silver medal for their efforts after having started the series with a 2-0 lead. Jokerit also led the fifth and final game of the series in the second period 2-0, but HIFK managed to stretch to 3-2 in the final match as well as in the whole series. After the rough patch of previous years, Jokerit were still glad to have the second place. It felt more like a medal won than lost. The team predicted to head straight to relegation qualifiers had made it to the finals of the season.