Splashes of black, green, yellow and blue. These were the colors that painted the stands as we awaited the Ilves vs. Lukko match. This was a special game to me because just about 3 years ago, I lived in Rauma. And yes, I was rooting for the blue and yellow. When I moved to Tampere in 2017, I switched that blue for the green.
Have you ever been to a Finnish hockey game? Let me tell you. I come from the United States and it’s quite different. The fans may be die-hard here, but with the quiet Finnish culture, it is not common to stand and yell throughout the entirety of the game, which is what I have been used to. It is interesting to see because as I sit next to Finns who are thoroughly enjoying the match, the first time that there was ‘noise’ was when one of our players missed a shot. Then there was this large synched sound of ‘eiiiiii’, which means ‘no’ in Finnish. I have actually started doing it too. Quite catchy. But beware, when our team scores a ‘maali’ (goal), everyone jumps out of their seats and shouts for joy. It is such an exciting spectacle to experience!
For this match, I sat next to the fan zone. They are incredibly wild. Just like any other fan zone, they sing songs, chant and make noise. It is so much fun to hear and watch the enthusiasm and dedication. I just wish that I understood more of the vulgarity that they yell sometimes. The game went into double overtime. As one player from each team lined up for the shootout, my nerves also shot up. I love that intense feeling, as if I was on the ice. The pressure! Thanks to Ruotsalainen, we ended up winning 3-2. I cannot wait until the next one. Ilves ikuisesti (forever).