Yet another mainstay of the Leijonat has decided to hang up his skates. Following earlier retirements of Saku Koivu and Teemu Selänne, it is now power forward Jarkko Ruutu, a 12-year NHL, six year SM-liiga and Finnish national team veteran, retiring from the sport. Ruutu laced up for HIFK and Jokerit in the SM-liiga, as well as for Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Anaheim in the NHL.
Ruutu retires as one of the most renowned “pests” in NHL history, uncommon for European players commonly associated with more finesse styles of play than physical, grinding types. Ruutu, the middle brother of former player Mikko and current New Jersey Devil Tuomo, retires with 142 total NHL points and 1078 penalty minutes. But perhaps his best accomplishments were suiting up for the Leijonat, playing in seven World Championships, three Olympics and the 2004 World Cup Of Hockey, winning silver at three Worlds (1998, 2001 and 2007), as well as at the 2006 Turin Olympics and 2004 World Cup.
Ruutu first won the International Hockey Lineal Championship at the 2001 World Championships in Germany, being part of IHLC-winning teams again at the 2006 Rīga World Championships and 2010 Vancouver Olympics. We wish Jarkko and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!