SPV fisherman preparing for a big one – 05.10.2017

SPV defenseman Jyrki Holopainen has won his share of floorball trophies but there’s a big one missing: Champions Cup. Holopainen prepared for the tournament among other things – taking a fishing tour in Russia.

As three-time Finnish champion, Jyrki Holopainen has attended three Champions Cup tournaments. In Umeå, Tampere and Mlada Boleslav. No victories but the more experience for him.
“Every Champions Cup has brought particular things that we did well and others that need to be done even better. For instance, you must be very well prepared and start getting ready early enough. The things your team does with the ball need to be effective right away in the beginning of the season.”
SPV head coach Tommy Koponen is a notorious friend of repeat and strong routine which means the team had their sticks in their hands as early as in July. Jyrki Holopainen points you must build your success on tight defense.
“With three goals against or less per game we will be able to score often enough to beat anyone. Special teams are especially important, too, as power plays, box plays and penalty shots decide top games.”
SPV has won the Finnish title in 2012, 2013 and 2015, and with a player like double World Champion Mikko Kohonen in the team, they have got their share of winning culture. Yet, no one in the team has won Champions Cup yet.
“We have an enormous hunger for victory. Myself I’m a competitive guy enough to want to win everything every time, no matter if it is just an informal shootout in the back yard.

SPV’s last season in Salibandyliiga ended with bronze medals after an overtime victory against Happee. That probably means they will not start this week’s Champions Cup as favorites to win.
“We know we are facing quite a challenge with SV Wiler-Ersigen in the quarter-final and then Falun in the semi. Still, our brotherhood has always been at its best when the opposition has been the toughest.”
SPV’s quarter-final opponent Wiler-Ersigen is one they know well as the teams have played each other in Champions Cup twice. In Umeå, SPV won the group game with 10-9 to then get beaten in the Mlada Boleslav semi-final in a dramatic penalty shootout. Getting to play former SPV star Tatu Väänänen means something extra for the Seinäjoki team.
“It’s a tough and well-organized team. Everywhere Tatu plays his team seems to win something and their whole defence is tight indeed. A rather annoying opponent”, Jyrki Holopainen admits.

Through the years, Champions Cup tournaments have been cut shorter and shorter but Jyrki Holopainen does not let it bother him one bit.
“I never spend my time thinking about things like that. When the big bosses decide a certain game to played at a certain time against a certain opponent I’ll just prepare for that. What is more important is that we have this event in Seinäjoki where the atmosphere is always good and we have one of the best home crowds in the league. I believe there will be lots of spectators and if people from elsewhere in Finland and from abroad find their way here, we are in for quite a weekend.”

Besides floorball, Jyrki Holopainen is known for his passion for fly-fishing. His major fishing trip for this year took him to Northern Russia with a helicopter to catch salmon.
“Fly-fishing and spending time outdoors help me live through our cold long winters. There’s also a character-building element with weather being whatever, getting to sleep little and swarms of mosquitoes everywhere. I got to leave my mobile phone behind for a whole week and experience a week without knowing what’s going on in the world outside.”
One of the salmon Holopainen caught a couple of years ago was no smaller than 15 kilograms.
“Actually, we just photographed the fish, gave it a pat in the back and released it back in the water. I release most of the fish I catch and it is not too often we end up cooling them on the fire.”
A warm jacuzzi in the back yard of his home is another one of Jyrki Holopainen’s ways to relax.
“It is great to soak in the water after a tough game or practice, and especially in the wintertime it is on most of the time. Often, I get teammates joining in and it is a good place to talk the games and good and bad things over.