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Tappara
Logo of Tappara
City: Tampere, Finland
League: SM-liiga
Founded: 1955 (1955)
Home Arena: Tampereen jäähalli (capacity 7,800)
Colors:               

Tappara (Finnish for "Battle axe") is an ice hockey team in the SM-liiga. They play at Tampereen jäähalli in Tampere, Finland. The team has won 15 Finnish league championships (1953, 1954, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2003).

Team historyEdit

Early daysEdit

Tbk45

TBK squad in 1945

The team currently known as Tappara was established in 1932 as Tammerfors Bollklubb (TBK). The team then consisted of players from the Swedish school in Tampere. The first official game was played in 1934. The team was promoted to the Finnish premier league for the first time for the 1942-43 season, and the team's first win was gained against Tarmo Hämeenlinna in January 1943. In 1946, the team won its first medal, bronze medal, as it finished third in the league, despite losing 19-4 to local rivals Ilves, which ended up as the champions.

The first period of success (1953-1964)Edit

Tappara1961

Tappara championship squad in 1961

The first notable period of success took place in early 50's, as TBK won three consecutive national championships in 1953-1955. In 1955, the team changed its original Swedish name to the Finnish Tappara in order to attract Finnish-speaking players. After that, the team went on to win three further championships (1959, 1961, and 1964), three second places (1958, 1960, and 1963), and three third places (1956, 1957, and 1962) in just nine years. Their winning streak was followed by a more silent period, with Tappara even playing one season (1965–1966) at the second highest level, gaining immediate promotion back to the top flight. A new arena "Tampereen jäähalli" was built in Hakametsä, Tampere to host the 1965 world championships. After the games the venue became the home arena of Tappara and their local rivals, Ilves and Koo-Vee and Tappara still play their home games there today.

The second period of success (1975-1988)Edit

Tappara fans had to wait until the mid-seventies until Tappara started to be successful again, thanks to some legendary players such as the goalkeeper Antti Leppänen and the defender Pekka Marjamäki. The bronze medals in 1973 and silver medals in 1974 were followed by the Finnish championship in 1975. This time, the successful period was even longer than the first period of glory in the 50's and early sixties. Tappara also won the Finnish championships in 1977, 1979, 1982, 1984, and the long streak ended by winning three consecutive championships in 1986-1988. Many fans regard the Tappara team of the late 1980s - coached by Rauno Korpi - as their strongest of all time. Behind the senior players such as Timo Susi and Erkki Lehtonen, the likes of Teppo Numminen (a long-term defender in NHL) and Janne Ojanen (Tappara icon) led the way as new talented youngsters. In 1988, the Finland national team gained its first success by winning the Olympic silver medal in Calgary, and Tappara players formed a substantial part of the Finnish team. Tappara players Erkki Lehtonen and Janne Ojanen were the goal scorers for Finland in a decisive win against Soviet Union.

The recent daysEdit

During the 1990s Tappara did not gain any notable success besides finishing third in the league in spring 1990. In 1992, the once so mighty team even had to fight for its place at the top level in relegation playoffs against Oulun Kärpät. A glimpse of glory was, however, achieved on international level, as Tappara player Timo Jutila captained the Finnish national team to win the ice hockey world championship in 1995. In the early 2000s Tappara played some good seasons, winning silver medals in both 2001 and 2002. In 2003 - to the surprise of many - Tappara won their latest Finnish championships so far, coached by Jukka Rautakorpi. After that, Tappara reached 3rd place in the premier league in 2008 and second place in 2013. As of 2013, Tappara leads the all time points table of the Finnish premier level hockey ahead of TPS Turku.

External linksEdit

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