Valtteri Vaakanainen - Finnish Juniors Review
Vaakanainen - The Flashy Fin - flirts with the possibility of playing in North America after enjoying an eye catching junior career in Finland. Valtteri worked his way through the top junior league, SM - Liiga, and took to the ice in Finland's top men's professional league, Liiga, this season. He was also a regular on Finland's under 20 national team at the IIHF World Junior Championships. Born June 7th 1996, the now 6 foot 2, 187 pound left winger raced his way into being a household name in Finland. He dreams of one day playing for the Helsinki Titans of the world top professional league, the VHL. Rumor has it he has been in contact with league executives regarding the possible transition. Valtteri has also been practicing on the smaller North American ice surface whenever it becomes available to him.
Valtteri spent three seasons in SM - Liiga playing for HPK Hameenlinna. The club climbed their way over those seasons with Vaakanainen as their center-piece and were able to be crowned champions of the 2018-19 campaign. The league features 60 game seasons and saw Vaakanainen amass 38 goals and 47 assists for 85 points, beating his previous season totals of 44 and 71 points respectively. His 2018-19 point totals were an impressive 31 points more than next best on the club (Teemu Turunen with 54). Valtteri won league MVP and potted another 12 goals to go along with 11 assists during their successful playoff run.
Valtteri is currently playing for Kärpät on a line with Juho Lammikko and Jesse Pulujärvi. Through 47 games he has not let his foot off the gas with and impressive 19 goals and 23 assists and sits 3rd on the club. His play has garnered the interest of North American scouts and is a likely shoe in to be offered a top role in the very near future. Kärpät has graciously given Valtteri the go ahead to speak with clubs in the VHL minor league and explore his options. The VHL is the worlds strongest professional league and Liiga has always co-operated willingly allowing their players to seek out opportunities.
Vaakanainen looks to follow in the footsteps of retiring Helsinki Titan winger, Julian Borwinn. Borwinn played his entire professional career with the Titans and became an icon for many young hockey players in the nation. Valtteri has had the honour of watching Borwinn on several occasions live and remembers his personal favorite memory of watching Julian produce a hat trick on home ice. He wants nothing more than to one day play for the Titans and lead them to a Continental Cup.