Friday

Timo Jutila

A tiny defensemen at just 5'7" 175lbs, Timo Jutila made up for his lack of size with great mobility and good puck movement and hockey sense. Jutila was never overly enthused by the rugged North American style of play. Despite this the Buffalo Sabres liked his high skill level and drafted him 68th overall in the 1982 Entry Draft.

A proud Finn, Jutila was already something of a legend in Finland by the time he was drafted by the Sabres. Jutila was a standout junior player. He earned Silver and Bronze medals in the 1981 and 1982 World Junior Championships, respectively. He was so good that he was the youngest player ever in the Finnish Elite League, debuting at age 16 with his hometown Tappara Tampere, and helped the team capture the league championship in 1982..

Seeing the success of other Finns in the NHL, including Buffalo's Hannu Virta, Jutila attended the Sabres training camp in September 1983 and got into 3 pre-season games before returning to Tampere. It was a season to remember for Jutila. Again he led the team to a league championship, but he also had the chance to represent his country at the Olympic games.

Jutila attempted to make the jump to the National Hockey League in 1984-85. He made the team out of training camp, and scored 1 goal and 6 points in 10 games before being sent down to the minor leagues. With the Rochester Americans he developed his game to North American standards. His high skill level was apparent in the AHL, but he never did become enthralled with the more physical game.

Jutila returned to Finland in 1985-86 and would never return to the North America. But make no mistake, Jutila was far from done in hockey. He would go on to become a Hall of Famer after retiring in 1999.
Jutila returned to Finland and captured three more national championship titles. In total he played 561 games with Tampere, racking up an amazing 435 points. Surprisingly he was an all star only 5 times and only once was named as the top defenseman in Finland. Jutila also spent several years playing in Sweden and Switzerland.

Jutila still embraced the Finnish national team level. He participated in two more Olympic Games, including a bronze medal performance in 1994. He participated in eight IIHF World Championship tournaments, capturing two silver medals, and was instrumental in Finland's first IIHF World Championship gold medal in 1995. Jutila also participated in the 1987 and 1991 Canada Cups.

In total Jutila participated in 246 national team games, many of which he served as team captain, scoring 128 points. One of the greatest Finnish players of all time, his great devotion to the Finnish National Team got him elected to the IIHF Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003.

Jutila remains active as a hockey broadcaster in Finland in his retirement.

1 comments:

Anonymous,  11:49 AM  

Ny rillataan!

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