Dear Ilves community,
The 2019-2020 season ended unprecedentedly due to Coronavirus disease (covid-19). As a result, the last game of the regular season as well as the entire post season were cancelled meaning that there is no champion in Liiga this year. However, due to prevailing situation the decision was unavoidable and the only correct solution.
Hockey and competitive sports in general play an important role in our daily life. They are important for us and awake strong feelings but procedures securing and maintaining our society’s well-being comes first. During this exceptional time the most important thing to do is to take care of ourselves, our loved ones and people who are part of the high-risk group. We need to follow the instructions given by the health care professionals and the authorities. Lastly, everyone needs to do their own share in preventing infections. Sports will return when the time is suitable.
Considering the season, we can say that despite the rough start we had it was very successful season for Ilves including lots of both terrific and historical moments. At the end of January Ilves played franchise’s first official league match abroad as we faced SaiPa in Tallinn, Estonia. Ilves also made history with a 17-away game point streak which lasted from October to February. Franchise’s all-time record in regular season points was increased from 92 to 114 and Ilves had the edge over Tappara in derbies this season. During the second half of the season the crowd witnessed Ilves Hockey Legends ceremonies in Hakametsä – a sign of our strong culture.
The young Ilves team led by head coach Jouko Myrrä played both active and entertaining hockey which resulted fourth place in the standings. That position would have granted home-ice advantage in the playoffs and Ilves had hosted KooKoo from Kouvola. At the same time, fourth place in the standings gave us a spot in the Champions hockey league, CHL. That is Ilves’ first time playing in the CHL. As an organization, we took once again a step towards our goals and our work aiming constant development and success will continue both inside and outside the office.
One of the biggest upsides of the season has to be the growth of our average attendance in home games which grew by nearly 12% compared to last season. Previous number was 5042 and the season target was 5200. The average attendance was 5637 meaning that we surpassed our target splendidly. The growth of the crowd attendance and the support given by the fans and the associates has been great. I would like to express my sincere thanks to You.
Despite the loss of playoff revenues our accounting period remains positive. Because of the improved financial situation over the last years, we manage through this challenging time. That being said, we do not differ from the other teams meaning that this epidemic brings challenges to us as well and it lowers current cash flows.
Considering the above, we have got numerous contacts from people who have expressed their willingness to support Ilves during the prevailing situation. We are looking forward to the future and are beginning to sell the next season’s game tickets (CHL and Liiga) and season tickets shortly. By securing your spot in the upcoming matches is currently the best way to support our organization.
The season 2020-2021 begins in September with Ilves’ first match in the CHL. The draw for the group stage will be held preliminary at the end of May. Going global is an important part of the growth strategy of Ilves Hockey Oy and we hope that Ilves community finds their way to Hakametsä to watch international games as we face interesting European top teams.
Ilves would like to thank you for the 2019-2020 season and wish everyone all the best. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other – through cooperation and as a community we’ll go forward under these circumstances.
chief executive officer