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Six new contracts – Jyrki Jokipakka returns to Ilves

Ilves Hockey Oy

Ilves has signed defensemen Jyrki Jokipakka and Kevin Czuczman and forward Eetu Tuulola. Defenseman Dominik Mašín has agreed on a contract extension and forward Joonas Oden’s current contract has been extended. Ilves U20 team forward Emil Järventie has signed a multi-year contract.

Defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka – Contract 2022–2023

Jyrki Jokipakka, 30, returns to his home club on a one-year contract. The defenseman left Ilves after 2012–2013 Liiga season and continued his career in North America. Jokipakka spent the last nine seasons in the AHL, NHL and KHL. Last season he played for KHL team Sibir Novisibirsk  and scored 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists) and 31 regular season games.

Jokipakka won the AHL championship (Calder Cup) with the Texas Stars in 2013–2014 season and made his NHL debut with the Dallas Stars in the autumn of 2014. Over his three seasons in the NHL the defenseman played for the Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators and scored 28 points (3 goals, 25 assists) in 150 games.

During the past five seasons Jokipakka represented HK Sochi and Sibir Novosibirsk in the KHL. In total he collected 105 points (24 goals, 81 assists) in 242 regular season games and 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists) in 16 playoff games. Point-wise his best season was 2019–2020 when the defenseman amassed 32 points (4 goals, 28 assists) in 58 games and was selected to the KHL All Star game.

Jokipakka has played 23 games in the Finnish national team. The defenseman represented Finland at the 2015 World Championship and 2016 World Cup. In his junior years at Ilves he won two national U20 bronze medals and one silver at the U17 level.

– Jyrki Jokipakka is a versatile elite defenseman, who strengthens our defense in every aspect of the game and helps our team rise to the next level. It’s great to see one of the most successful Ilves players of recent years return to the club in top condition and in the middle of his best years as a player, says Ilves sports director Timo Koskela.

Defenseman Kevin Czuczman – Contract 2022–2023

Kevin Czuczman, 31, has signed a one-year contract with Ilves. The defenseman possesses nine years experience from the professional leagues in North America. The Canadian played 48 regular season games and scored 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) for the AHL team Iowa Wild last season.

In total Czuczman has scored 26 goals and added 108 assists in 450 regular season games in the AHL. He played his first NHL games for the New York Islanders in 2013–2014 season, when he collected two assists in 13 games, and wore the Pittsburgh Penguins jersey in two games during the 2020–2021 season.

– Kevin Czuczman is a very experienced, big and versatile defenseman who skates well and also brings leadership to our team. He is a very popular player and teammate who has often been selected alternate captain at his AHL teams. The NHL games he played in 2020–2021 season also tell about his level and reliability, says Koskela.

Forward Eetu Tuulola – Contract 2022–2023

Eetu Tuulola, 24, joins Ilves on a one-year contract. The forward, who has played in the AHL for three seasons, scored 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) in 61 regular season games and 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist) in 13 playoff games for the Stockton Heat last season. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL entry draft by the Calgary Flames.

Tuulola’s previous full season in the Liiga was 2018–2019, when the forward won the championship with HPK and totalled 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) in 60 regular season games and 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) in 18 playoff games. In total he has played 125 regular season games and scored 63 points (29 goals, 34 assists) in the Finnish top league.

The forward has also won the IIHF U18 World Championship in 2016 and national U20 silver and U17 gold medals in his junior years at HPK.

– Eetu Tuulola is a versatile player, who helps our team in whatever role he plays and can be used both on the powerplay and in short-handed situations. We are getting a player who is strong in front of the nets and whose qualities are even more important in the playoffs. He adds size, strength and toughness to our attack and has the potential to rise to the next level as a player, believes sports director Timo Koskela.

Defenseman Dominik Mašín – Contract extension 2022–2023

Czech defenseman Dominik Mašín, 26, has agreed on a contract extension. Mašín joined Ilves last October and scored 11 points (1 goals, 10 assists) in 44 regular season games in the Liiga. The defenseman also played three games for the Czech national team.

– Before his injury Dominik Mašín was one of our team’s best defensemen in the playoffs. His versatility and importance were highlighted in the spring, and his absence impacted our defending. Dominik is a strong competitor who can solve pressure situations both by moving the puck and with his strong skating. We are really happy that he continues here next season as well, comments Koskela.

Forward Joonas Oden – Contract extension 2023–2024

Forward Joonas Oden’s, 22, current contract has been extended by one year. The new contract runs until spring 2024. Oden joined Ilves from KooKoo a year ago and set his career high 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) last season.

– Joonas Oden is one of the best skaters in the league. He creates chances in every game through his skating and can play strong two-way game in any role. He has taken steps forward every year and will keep on developing in the future as well. It was clear that we wanted to extend his contract well in advance, says Koskela.

– Joonas already scored decent points last season without really playing on the powerplay. If he can improve his scoring efficiency he has the tools to take a step to the next level. It’s brilliant that we will see Joonas in the Ilves jersey at least for the next two seasons.

Forward Emil Järventie – Contract 2022–2024 + option year

Emil Järventie, 17, has signed a 2+1-year contract. Ilves junior academy product represented the USHL team Muskegon Lumberjacks in the autumn and recorded 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) in 19 games before returning to Ilves for the rest of the season. The forward scored 21 points (13 goals, 8 assists) in 20 games for the Ilves U20 team and 23 points (14 goals, 9 assists) in 14 games for the Ilves U18 team. Järventie also played 12 games in total for the Finnish U17 and U18 national teams.

– Emil Järventie is a dynamic player with good attacking skills and qualities that fit modern-day ice hockey. He is an exceptionally talented young player and it’s great that he also takes the next steps in his development at Ilves in the coming years, says sports director Koskela.

After the contracts published today Ilves now has 34 player contracts in total for the 2022–2023 season. Ilves video coach Otto Kunnari also continues in his role next season.

Contract situation for the 2022–2023 season

Goaltenders (2)

Marek Langhamer 2023, Jakub Málek 2024+1

Defensemen (12)

Karri Aho 2023+1, Santeri Airola 2023+1, Kevin Czuczman 2023, Otto Heinonen 2024, Veeti Hietaniemi 2024+1, Jyrki Jokipakka 2023, Les Lancaster 2023, Otto Latvala 2024+1, Leo Lööf 2023, Dominik Mašín 2023, Jarkko Parikka 2025, Tuomas Salmela 2024

Forwards (20)

Samu Bau 2024+1, Nikolai Hakala 2023+1, Joona Ikonen 2024, Emil Järventie 2024+1, Petri Kontiola 2023, Joona Korhonen 2023+1, Jakub Kos 2023+1, Panu Mieho 2024, Matias Mäntykivi 2024, Miro Nalli 2024, Jani Nyman 2023+1, Joonas Oden 2024, Eetu Päkkilä 2024, Miro Ruokonen 2024+1, Aku Räty 2024, Balázs Sebők 2023, Eemeli Suomi 2023, Tommi Tikka 2023+1, Eetu Tuulola 2023, Santeri Virtanen 2023

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