Friday, December 8, 2023

An unprecedented event in Lempala – “a sign for young foreigners that it is worth coming to Finland”


Floor Bandy’s first booking event in the F-League was held.

Two weeks ago, Gabriel Kohonen, who won Under-19 World Cup gold in Sweden’s jersey, was certainly the best-known name to the general public when the men’s floorball league, or F-Liga, held its first booking event in Lempala Was. on Wednesday.

Gabriel’s father, Mika Kohonen, was recently the best player in the world. Kohonen, who currently coaches Storavreta in the Swedish league, played most for Happy in Finland, but also for one season (2015–2016) at Pelivelj in Senjoki.

“Gabriel has a contract with Storveta for the next two seasons, but we expect him to play at least one season at SPV in the near future,” said Tommi Koponen, the club’s former head coach.

Koponen heard about the booking program during the season and was convinced on the spot.

– Draft is an interesting concept. In this way F-League clubs send a signal to young foreigners that it is worth coming to Finland and that clubs are interested in acquiring them, Koponen said.

Eravikinki's Olli Lahdesmäki handed the jersey and cap to Simon Stransky, who was booked by the Helsinki team.

Eravikinki’s Olli Lahdesmäki handed the jersey and cap to Simon Stransky, who was booked by the Helsinki team. Photo: Kalle Parkkinen / Lehtikuva

Gabriel Kohonen played in the Finnish under-16 national team, but then decided to represent the Swedish national teams in the future. The family lives in Uppsala.

Hape’s manager, Petri Kuko, also booked Sweden’s Sakarias Ulriksson, who had won gold at the World Championships two weeks earlier.

Top players of the age group are of interest to us. If there is an opportunity to bring a top player to Jyväskylä, we will take it. If 1-2 of the reserve guys ever play for us, that’s already good, estimates Kouko.

In Lempala, 12 clubs have reserved three players, i.e. 36 players in total. Czechs were booked the most, i.e. 13. Eight were Latvians, of whom FBC Turku was the first to book striker Krijnis Tiltins. Five Swiss and four Swedish were booked.

Players born in 2001 or later can be booked in the event. The Finns could not be booked, as F-League CEO Kimmo Nurminen considers the breeder system functional, and it would have mattered to no one if the SPV had booked the Classic’s most promising junior.

Such a draft will be held in Lempala at least in 2024 and a similar event for women will probably take place next year in Lahti in connection with the World Junior Championships in 2025, Nurminen said.

F-League clubs have an agreement on the terms under which a player can transfer to a club other than the one that booked him. Clubs will have to keep in touch with players until June 30. Reservation is valid for four years.

Held at the Classic’s home hall, we saw some of the players who will surely be playing in the league next season. One of them was Adam Hemarka, who last won a silver medal in the Czech jersey at the World Championships for adults, and who will represent the Classic next season.

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