Finnish ice hockey players Antti Pihlström, Jarkko Immonen and Jyrki Välivaara recently visited Valtra’s factory in Suolahti. The three players are part of the Finnish National Ice Hockey team that won the 2011 IIHF World Men’s Championship in Slovakia in May.
The “dude”, nickname for the world championship trophy, also made an appearance at the factory. Valtra staff was invited for a meet and greet with the players. Many used the opportunity to congratulate them in person and for a photo opportunity with the Finnish heroes.
Jarkko Immonen, forward and championship’s top scorer, continues to be amazed at the reception the team is receiving throughout the country. Likewise, the visit to Valtra was a positive experience for the players. For defense Jyrki Välivaara, the factory also proved a place of happy memories. In 2009 he had successfully completed a week-long internship at the assembly plant. “I wonder how many of the tractors I built then have since been returned to the factory”, he jokingly commented his experience.
Pihlström, Immonen and Välivaara have close ties to Central Finland and Valtra. During the 2008-09 season they won the Finnish ice hockey championships while playing for Jyväskylä-based ice hockey team JYP. Valtra has been the main sponsor of JYP since 2004.
Ice hockey is undoubtedly the most popular sport in Finland. What sports do you follow?