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Joonas Lehtivuori debuts on new team, no guarantees on return

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Joonas Lehtivuori had a solid debut for Kalpa last night. The circumstances weren’t ideal with the jetlag and loan gear in practice. Lehtivuori didn’t get his own gear back until game time as he lost his luggage during the four flights he took from North America to Finland.

"Two bags were found in Paris and other two were somewhere else. I had to take four flights and there wasn’t much time to switch planes, so the bags got lost somewhere. Fortunately they were found before the game."

Lehtivuori admits he was tired, but overall the debut went well.

"It was about adjusting. I had just two practices before the game, so I’m not that familiar with the system yet. It felt pretty good towards the end of the game, but I started feeling the jetlag a bit in the third period."

Lehtivuori reveals that there were other clubs interested in his services as well, not just Kalpa.

"There were a few clubs after me, but we decided together with the Flyers that this would be the best option. There was no big drama about it."

Lehtivuori says the reasons for his move to Kalpa were the troubles he had adjusting to the circumstances in both Glens Falls and the AHL in general.

 "There was just completely nothing there", he recalls the town. "I could barely get the internet working. It’s a really small place and the arena is just this old building of bricks."

 "It’s not that fun when sometimes you have games on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You have to start looking for motivation by Sunday, thinking, do we have to play again today? You start wondering if this is so fun afterall?"

Lehtivuori says the style of play in the AHL is much more straight-forward than in the SM-Liiga.

"They come straight at you all the time in the AHL and you have no time with the puck. You have to move up right away there, but here you can take your time."

Lehtivuori says he prefers the more patient style Kalpa is playing in the SM-Liiga.

But is there a return to North America for Lehtivuori? He is under contract with the Flyers next season as well afterall.

Lehtivuori isn’t sure.

"I haven’t decided yet if I’ll go back there again or stay here somewhere. I’m just focusing on Kalpa right now and try to help the team win."


This report was based off of a Finnish-language story in the publication Jatkoaika.