1. Etusivu
  2. News
  3. Changes to the roster – forward Henrik Haapala signs for Ilves

Changes to the roster – forward Henrik Haapala signs for Ilves

Ilves Hockey Oy

Ilves and 28-year-old forward Henrik Haapala have signed a contract that covers the remainder of the season. Forward Tomi Iso-Mustajärvi, 29, stays at Ilves for the rest of the season. Ilves also received the player rights of goaltender Niko Parkkinen, 22, from JYP  for the remainder of the season.

Henrik Haapala has won two Finnish championship titles, four silver medals and gold medal at the IIHF U20 World Junior Championship in his career. The forward hasn’t played yet this season due to recoring from a surgery that was done in August.

The left-handed (175 cm / 75 kg), Lempäälä based forward has been fit to play for a while, but the KHL’s Olympic break started mid-January, which extended his absence and he didn’t play for Jokerit this season. Over the last two season Haapala scored 55 points (14 goals, 41 assists) in 106 KHL regular season games and 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 8 playoff games for Jokerit.

Haapala has scored 37 goals and 87 assists in 197 Liiga regular season games and 14 goals and 24 assists in 83 playoff games for Tappara. His most effective season so far was 2016–2017 when he amassed 15 goals and 45 assists, led the league in points in the regular season and was selected to the All-Star line-up of the season.

The forward also has experience from North America and Switzerland. In the summer of 2017 he signed a two-way entry-level deal with the Florida Panthers. Haapala played five NHL games and 20 AHL games before returning to Tappara for the remainder of the season. Next season he scored 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in 21 regular season games and 5 point (1 goal, 4 assists) in 3 playoff games for the Swiss league team HC Lugano.

Haapala has worn the Finnish national team jersey in 8 games and scored 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) for his country.

Sport director Timo Koskela says Haapala, who will wear the number 52 for Ilves, will add individual talent and winning experience to the team.

– Henrik Haapala contacted us yesterday and indicated his interest to join our team. He is no doubt a top player, and after we discussed matters, it was clear very quickly that we have a common view on things and are able to agree on the contract terms in good mutual understanding, says Koskela.

– Henkka is a very competitive and creative player, who can create plays out of nowhere with his vision, speed and skill but also with his willingness no battle. He will surely fit our playing system brilliantly. We are aware he hasn’t played in a while, but there’s enough time and we will take the next steps with patience so when to playoff time comes, we will have that Henrik Haapala, who has already previously proved his ability to stand out and clinch games in the spring when it matters the most.

Ilves sign Tomi Iso-Mustajärvi and receive Niko Parkkinen’s player rights for the rest of the season

Tomi Iso-Mustajärvi started the season at KOOVEE and joined Ilves the week before last. Ilves academy product has since played in each five games.  Over the past four seasons the forward represented SaiPa. In total he has scored 10 goals and 16 assists in 131 Liiga regular season games.

191 centimeter goaltender Niko Parkkinen has represented JYP in three Liiga games and KeuPa in 15 Mestis games this season. The Mikkeli based goaltender has belonged to the JYP organisation since 2014–2015 season. Over the ongoing and two previous seasons Parkkinen has played 25 Liiga games and 52 Mestis games.

– We want to thank Niko Parkkinen and JYP for cooperation. We have been looking to bolster our group with a goaltender who can help our team if Marek Langhamer or Vadim Žerenko would face any extended period on the sideline during the remainder of the season, tells sport director Timo Koskela.

– Niko’s player rights are loaned to Ilves for the rest of the season. We immediately move him on, according to the rules, to KeuPa and let him continue his every day life and games at Mestis, but he can be called up if we need him.

Santeri Virtanen and Antti Saarela miss the rest of the season

Ilves forwards Santeri Virtanen, 22, and Antti Saarela, 20, will miss the rest of the 2021–2022 Liiga season due to health reasons. The rehabilition activities and training of both players will now concentrate on preparing for next season. The club and players do not comment further on players’ personal health issues.

Ilveksen loppukauden joukkueeseen muutoksia – Henrik Haapala saapuu vahvistamaan hyökkäystä
Vaasan Sport Ilvestä vahvempi