Oulun Kärpät
Kärpät logo
City: Oulu
League: SM-liiga
Founded: 1946 (1946)
Home Arena: Oulun Energia Areena (capacity 6,614)
Head Coach: Flag of Finland.svg Lauri Marjamäki
General Manager: Flag of Finland.svg Juha Junno

Oulun Kärpät (Finnish for Oulu Ermines) is an ice hockey team in the SM-liiga based in Oulu, Finland, and owned by Kärppä Säätiö (Kärppä Foundation).


In the spring of 1946, three young men decided to found a new sports club in Oulu. At the constitutional meeting on May 15, the club was named Oulun Kärpät 46. At first, Kärpät played football and its first winter sport was bandy.

In the first annual meeting in January 1947, an ice hockey section was established. At the beginning of the new decade, Kärpät was somewhat successful in ice hockey and it became the main sport of the club. The first game at the highest level was played on the December 4, 1960 against HJK but the visit to the highest level was short and Kärpät lost their position in the series. They made it to the highest level again in 1965-66, but lost their position again. The third try in 1967-68 did not produce a better performance, as Kärpät lost all their games.

From the first years on, junior work was important for Kärpät. E-juniors won the first Finnish Championship for Kärpät in the spring of 1971. When the SM-liiga was founded in August 1975, Kärpät started in the first division. Their goal was to rise to the league. It didn’t happen in the first season, but in 1976. In the next season Kärpät was 7th and then last, but they still remained at the league with ease. After Kärpät acquired some good players, they won the bronze medals in 1980.

In the following year, Kärpät was third in the regular series but in the finals they defeated Tappara. Next year, the weakened team had to settle for 5th place, and the following year they were almost relegated. With a new coach, the goal was to win a medal and finally Kärpät won the bronze. The next goal was to win the championship, but Kärpät only managed to get bronze for the following two years. Kärpät won the regular series in 1987 but they lost to Tappara in the finals. Hopes were high for the next season, but Kärpät fell from the league. In the 2005 finals Kärpät beat Jokerit in Helsinki to win their second consecutive championship with 3 wins to 1. Kärpät facing off against Blues in 2006 playoffs.

The goal was to rise again shortly but it did not work out. Due to financial constraints, Kärpät went into bankruptcy, but in the fall of 1995 they made it to the first division again. In the first year they came 8th and lost in the play offs. Next year they went against KalPa for a place in the league but lost. In the following year, they lost against KalPa again. For the 1998-99 season, Kärpät acquired coach Juhani Tamminen. After they played very well in the regular series they lost to TuTo in the play offs.

The next year, Kärpät finally qualified to the SM-liiga by beating Pelicans Lahti in the qualification series. The first season in the Elite league was full of ups and downs but Kärpät finished 4th, and 6th the following season. After that they finally made it to the finals but lost against Tappara just like in 1987. In the 2003-04 season, Kärpät played in the finals against TPS and finally won their second Finnish Championship. In 2004-05, Kärpät won the Finnish Championship again when they defeated Jokerit in the finals, winning the best-of-five series 3-1. They retained the championship title in the 2006-07 season by beating Jokerit in the finals (3 wins to none) and winning all their games in the playoffs. The first three championships of the 2000s have been celebrated in Oulu with feasts, each gathering tens of thousands of people to rejoice. In the 2007-2008 season, the organization won its second consecutive championship title, and the fourth within the last five years, by defeating Espoo Blues in the finals with four wins to one.

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