“It will be the greatest Champions Cup ever” – 05.09.2017

Even with focus on floorball itself, Champions Cup 2017 in Seinäjoki in October will also contain a lot of entertainment outside the rink. Sports director of hosts SPV, Tommy Koponen, is looking forward to a first-class occasion.

The town of Seinäjoki lies in Pohjanmaa, the Texas of Finland where they like to claim everything is a bit bigger and grander than anywhere else.

“This may sound like Pohjanmaa talk but we genuinely believe we are going to arrange the finest Champions Cup tournament in floorball history”, Koponen says.

“Our football pitch-size arena makes it possible to build something different from our national Superfinal. Even with main focus on floorball, we will be able to bring in spectators from outside the traditional floorball fan groups. Expectations fly high already and it’s going to be this autumn’s biggest sports weekend in the area.”

Activities for everyone

The three-time Finnish floorball champion coach Koponen, aka Mr. SPV, says they have considered a lot of different things and they particularly want to include spectators of all ages.

“We believe children and young people are going to be interested and what we already know about the arrangements looks good indeed. We are going to have an expo area and nearby activity businesses like Ähtäri Flowpark will attend. We have contacted Finland’s Jackass group “Duudsonit” who are from here and their Activity Park is going to be included.”

“Also, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences is going to organize an area where you can leave little children to be looked after as everyone knows it is not the easiest of things to follow a floorball game with little children in your lap.”

Finnish champions in 2012, 2013 and 2015 SPV Seinäjoki have fought in three Champions Cup tournaments in Umeå, Tampere and Mlada Boleslav which give Tommy Koponen a bit of perspective to evaluate the arrangements. None of those three tournaments filled the arenas. SPV intend to change that.

5000 spectators for Friday?

“The arrangements have been just fine every time but I have been surprised how little spectators there have been on the stands. In Seinäjoki, we have invited all the schoolchildren of the town to watch the Friday games linking the invitation with the Finland 100 theme (Finland became independent 100 years ago) and there are about 4,000 of them. Our goal for the first day of the tournament is set at 5,000”, Tommy Koponen says.

Seinäjoki Arena has gone through a major renovation which paves way for even mightier happenings. Alongside the main arena, there will be Sunday morning placement games played at the smaller Seinäjoen Urheilutalo next door.

“Seinäjoki Areena got a whole new part sized almost the original building and three rinks fit in that part. During the Champions Cup, a major tournament for Finnish military conscripts will be played and that, too, will bring in more people.”

During the years, SPV has played several important games at Seinäjoki Arena and the audience will get to enjoy it better than ever.

“Spectator capacity for the main arena is set at 3,000 but more seats can easily be added at rink level and two large screens allow people to watch from a distance, too. New stands have also been added to make the arena more stadium-like.”

After the EFT tournament in 2004, students’ World Championship tournament have been the only international floorball games in Seinäjoki. Getting to host the best players of the world greatly pleases Tommy Koponen who has worked hard for the sport and his club for more than two decades.

“I feel really thankful for the federation considering our Seinäjoki worth hosting a tournament of this level. I am proud but also thankful and humble for all the local floorball people. It is an honor to get to see players like the Falun superstars this close. And playing SV Wiler-Ersigen and ex-SPV Tatu Väänänen who is still hugely popular in Seinäjoki in the semi-final certainly is something special for us”, Koponen smiles.

“Back in the EFT we had 2,500 people watching the game between Finland and Sweden and it has been a lot of time since with the number of local floorball enthusiasts multiplying.