Jokerit hockey club and the international hockey league KHL have agreed on the Helsinki based club to join the league for the season 2014-15. Negotiations started during the summer and on Wednesday the parties reached the final agreement.
Jokerit, founded in 1967, is the first Finnish hockey club to join the KHL. The league consists of 28 teams from 8 different countries. Next season there will most likely be 30 teams playing the KHL and in the future the target of the league is to expand further in Europe.
-Jokerit is very proud to be representing Finland and Finnish hockey in the fastest-growing professional hockey league in the world. We want to compete for the championship and have a big task ahead of us as we start to prepare ourselves for the challenge, said Harry Harkimo, chairman of the board of Jokerit.
Arena Events, which acquired the ownership of Hartwall Arena during the summer, has exercised its option to buy a 49 percent sharehold of Jokerit. Chairman Harkimo will remain as the main owner of the hockey club.
Arena Events chairman of the board and Jokerit hockey club member of the board, Roman Rotenberg:
-We are extremely satisfied about this contract and pleased to conclude the long negotiations successfully. Jokerit already has a fantastic organization, infrastructure and youth development program which enable the club to successfully join the KHL. Jokerit has the possibility to become one of the most successful brands in the league both financially and on the ice.
Jokerit will continue to be a Finnish and Helsinki based club which plays its home games at Hartwall Arena. Ice hockey is moving to a more global direction and Jokerit wants to be a part of the sport’s progress.
-The KHL naturally provides a new kind of product for the whole Finnish hockey audience, but without the continuity built in the club’s 46 year history we have nothing, said Harkimo.
The club is proud of its traditions. Even in a new league, Jokerit wants to uphold the club’s Finnish and Helsinki based traditions. The internationally known logo and club name will remain the same.
-Our fans, some of who have followed the club for decades, have created a fantastic atmosphere at Hartwall Arena. They will be even more important to us in the future as we take on the best club teams in Europe, said Harkimo.
Jokerit Helsinki was founded in 1967 to continue the ice hockey program of Töölön Vesa. In its 46 year history, Jokerit has won the Finnish championship six times, European championship two times and the Continental Cup once. The club has played its home games at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki since 1997.