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Oulun Kärpät is an ice hockey team in the SM-liiga based in Oulumarker, Finlandmarker. Their logo features a stoat (Mustela erminea); "kärpät" is Finnish for stoats or ermines. The team has won 5 league championships (1981, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008).


In the spring of 1946, three young men decided to found a new sports club in Oulu. At the constitutional meeting on May 15, the club was named Oulun Kärpät 46. At first, Kärpät played football and its first winter sport was bandy.

In the first annual meeting in January 1947, an ice hockey section was established. At the beginning of the new decade, Kärpät was somewhat successful in ice hockey and it became the main sport of the club. The first game at the highest level was played on the December 4, 1960 against HJK but the visit to the highest level was short and Kärpät lost their position in the series. They made it to the highest level again in 1965-66, but lost their position again. The third try in 1967-68 did not produce a better performance, as Kärpät lost all their games.

From the first years on, junior work was important for Kärpät. E-juniors won the first Finnish Championship for Kärpät in the spring of 1971. When the SM-liiga was founded in August 1975, Kärpät started in the first division. Their goal was to rise to the league. It didn’t happen in the first season, but in 1976. In the next season Kärpät was 7th and then last, but they still remained at the league with ease. After Kärpät acquired some good players, they won the bronze medals in 1980.

In the following year, Kärpät was third in the regular series but in the finals they defeated Tappara. Next year, the weakened team had to settle for 5th place, and the following year they were almost relegated. With a new coach, the goal was to win a medal and finally Kärpät won the bronze. The next goal was to win the championship, but Kärpät only managed to get bronze for the following two years. Kärpät won the regular series in 1987 but they lost to Tappara in the finals. Hopes were high for the next season, but Kärpät fell from the league.

The goal was to rise again shortly but it did not work out. Due to financial constraints, Kärpät went into bankruptcy, but in the fall of 1995 they made it to the first division again. In the first year they came 8th and lost in the play offs. Next year they went against KalPa for a place in the league but lost. In the following year, they lost against KalPa again. For the 1998-99 season, Kärpät acquired coach Juhani Tamminen. After they played very well in the regular series they lost to TuTo in the play offs.

The next year, Kärpät finally qualified to the SM-liiga by beating Pelicans Lahti in the qualification series. The first season in the Elite league was full of ups and downs but Kärpät finished 4th, and 6th the following season. After that they finally made it to the finals but lost against Tappara just like in 1987. In the 2003-04 season, Kärpät played in the finals against TPS and finally won their second Finnish Championship. In 2004-05, Kärpät won the Finnish Championship again when they defeated Jokerit in the finals, winning the best-of-five series 3-1. They retained the championship title in the 2006-07 season by beating Jokerit in the finals (3 wins to none) and winning all their games in the playoffs. The first three championships of the 2000s have been celebrated in Oulu with feasts, each gathering tens of thousands of people to rejoice. In the 2007-2008 season, the organization won its second consecutive championship title, and the fourth within the last five years, by defeating Espoo Blues in the finals with four wins to one.

When Oulun Kärpät Oy was founded in 2000 it took the responsibility off the representative team and A-juniors. Oulun Kärpät 46 ry focuses on other junior work.

Current Squad

As of November 4, 2009
Number Player Glove hand Contract Place of Birth
1 Petri Koivisto L 2011 Kiiminkimarker, Finlandmarker
32 Tuomas Tarkki L 2010 Rauma, Finlandmarker
40 Antti Rautiola L 2011 Äänekoskimarker, Finlandmarker

Number Player Lower hand Contract Place of Birth
2 Oskari Korpikari L 2010 Oulumarker, Finlandmarker
4 Antti Ylönen L 2010 Liminkamarker, Finlandmarker
5 Atte Ohtamaa L 2012 Nivalamarker, Finlandmarker
6 Ilkka Mikkola L 2011 Oulumarker, Finlandmarker
25 Juho Jokinen L 2010 Kalajokimarker, Finlandmarker
28 Ossi-Petteri Grönholm L 2010 Kotkamarker, Finlandmarker
29 Joni Liljeblad L 2011 Oulumarker, Finlandmarker
38 Teemu Aalto R 2011 Kokkolamarker, Finlandmarker
55 Justin Forrest L 2010 Auburnmarker, NYmarker, USmarker
- Dmitri Yushkevich R Try-out Cherepovetsmarker, Russiamarker

Number Player Lower hand Contract Place of Birth
11 Kimmo Koskenkorva L 2011 Haukipudasmarker, Finlandmarker
12 Pekka Saarenheimo L 2010 Oulunsalomarker, Finlandmarker
15 Veikko Karppinen L 2011 Kajaanimarker, Finlandmarker
16 Pavel Rosa R 2010 Mostmarker, Czech Republicmarker
17 Kristian Kuusela R 2010 Seinäjokimarker, Finlandmarker
18 Mikko Alikoski L 2010 Oulumarker, Finlandmarker
19 Juho Keränen R 2011 Keitelemarker, Finlandmarker
21 Teemu Normio L 2010 Tamperemarker, Finlandmarker
23 Tomi Pekkala L 2011 Rovaniemimarker, Finlandmarker
24 Jari Viuhkola L 2011 Oulumarker, Finlandmarker
27 Joonas Donskoi R 2012 Raahemarker, Finlandmarker
39 Vesa Viitakoski L 2010 Lappeenrantamarker, Finlandmarker
43 Antti Aarnio L 2010 Oulumarker, Finlandmarker

- Lukáš Kašpar L 2010 Mostmarker, Czechoslovakiamarker

Out on loan

Famous Players

Reijo Ruotsalainen - Reijo Ruotsalainen helped Kärpät win its first domestic championship in 1980-81 before moving to New York Rangers in the NHL. Later he moved to Edmonton Oilers where he won two Stanley Cups. He also played for New Jersey Devils. In total he played 532 matches in the NHL totalling 391 points. Ruotsalainen has also been selected to the NHL All-Star game.

Janne Niinimaa - The offensive defenseman started his career in Kärpät in the Finnish First Division before joining Jokerit in 1993. Has played a total of 800 NHL matches in Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens scoring 343 points. Has been selected to NHL-All Rookie Team in 1996-97 and All-Star team in 2000-01 and has won an Olympic bronze medal and World Championship with Team Finland.

Niklas Bäckström - Bäckström started his goaltending career in HIFK but made his break-through while playing in Kärpät 2002-06. Currently Bäckström plays for Minnesota Wild and is considered one of the best goalies in the NHL.

Jussi Jokinen - Jokinen began his career with Kärpät and moved to the NHL after totaling 47 points in 56 matches in the 2004-05 season. In the NHL he has played for Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes.

Joni Pitkänen - Pitkänen started his career with Kärpät and was drafted 1st round 4th overall in the 2002 NHL draft by Philadelphia Flyers. He is currently playing at Carolina Hurricanes and has also played a season at Edmonton Oilers for a total of 379 NHL games scoring 188 points.

Pekka Rinne - Rinne began his career as an understudy to Niklas Bäckström before moving to North America in 2005. He is now considered the first choice goaltender at Nashville Predators and also made his national team debut at the 2009 World Championships.

Retired Numbers

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