Tampere is an ice hockey city. It is also a city where the biggest Finnish ice hockey derbies, Ilves vs Tappara, are played. No question you must choose your side. I have always personally preferred yellow-green color combo over blue and orange. Dear Tappara fans, as much as I feel personally offended every time I hear ´live is life´ playing on the radio, it is exactly this rivalry between you and us which makes the fan culture (aka fandom) so special in our city. Nothing thrills us supporters more than a game against our nearest and dearest.
I am an Ilves fan and have been all my life. I was born in 1997 after which Ilves has reached the top three in the league only once while Tappara has…well…done it more often. However, staying loyal to your team through thick and thin lies in the heart of the fandom.
The uniqueness of the Tampere derbies was even recognized in Helsingin Sanomat (the largest daily newspaper in Finland) on Saturday, February 1st after the fifth season derby. The atmosphere in the arena, the tension and that pure excitement of the fans are something what the ice hockey scene in Helsinki has been lacking since the Helsinki derbies became history when Jokerit moved to play in the KHL.
The emotions are real, visceral. After a bitter defeat to your local rival the last thing you want to do is to end up discussing ice hockey with a complete stranger who just randomly pops up in front of you in the arena. Believe me, I know.
I was lucky enough to get to ask a few questions from a fellow Ilves fan after the game.
How do you feel about today´s game and our Tampere derbys in general?
– While nothing makes me feel worse than a smiling Tappara fan after a bitter local rival, these derbys are the cornerstone of the whole ice hockey scene in Tampere. Usually a term confrontation carries strong negative connotations. However, here it lies at the center of the whole system. All in all, derbys are often the most important games on the supporters´ season calendar.
What do you think is the biggest difference between Ilves fans and Tappara fans?
– Based on my experience, Ilves fans are more lively and energetic.
What are the colors of spring 2020 in Tampere?
– Yellow and green. That’s for sure.