Interview

Timo Koskela: It is great to have games underway again

Vesa Suonsyrjä

Timo Koskela, the Sports Director of Ilves, is excited about Ilves’ return to play this week after a long break. The team will play two practice games (a home game against JYP on Wednesday and a game against Vaasan Sport in Forssa on Thursday) and participate in the 3v3 Super Series tournament that begins in Turku on Friday.

Ilves starts the season with a few changes compared to last season. The wide roster will ensure tough competition for roster spots throughout the whole season.

– The team has practiced well and now we will finally get to see where they are at. It is playing that will better show the coaching staff where they are at, and us at the administration will have an outlook on how each player is doing compared to expectations.

– Ever since last season, while building the team, we have held the opinion that we can be more successful in Liiga if we play with a wide roster. By circulating the players, we always have the possibility to put fresh players on the ice, and that is why we have a better chance at avoiding injuries during the long season. In addition, healthy competition drives the players forward because everyone must work hard for their roster spot.

Practice games have many different approaches, but Timo Koskela determines that every time you wear the jersey, you play to win.

– Every time a player wears the jersey, he has to have a proper attitude so that he will do his best and leave everything on the ice to help his team. What is different with the practice games is that practice won’t be any lighter to accommodate to those games, and therefore there is a difference to the actual regular season games. A win is still the objective, determined Sports Director Timo Koskela.

The season begins in six weeks (Liiga’s opening day October 2), and the preseason has been unprecedentedly long due to the global situation. It has been a long time since the last games, and the spirits are high when the playing finally continues.

– Of course, we have to consider the mental side of things and the coaches have to think about the pacing of the preseason. There is no way we can start the season already exhausted. On the contrary, we have to improve our performance all the time and the team has to grow during the season in order to be successful in the spring. It has been a long time since we last played, and it is great to have games underway again, said Koskela gleefully.

The first interesting games of the first ever 3v3 Super Series tournament will be played in Turku on Friday. Super entertaining hockey is to be expected, but Ilves has not changed their style of practice for the playing format.

– I believe that all the clubs approach these matches in their own way. We have not changed our practice because of the playing format. I think that, for us, these games are practice for the season and especially for the overtimes during the season.

– It is great that such a tournament has been organized, and I believe that perhaps some player can become a kind of dark horse in this playing format and by scoring a ton can prove to the coach that he can play in overtime during the actual season as well.

– I believe no one has approached this tournament through defense or puck control, rather the teams will seek success and goals by playing more straightforwardly than usual in overtime. I am expecting extremely entertaining games full of goal-scoring.

Please note the special arrangements of Ilves’ home games!

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