Finnish defender Ossi Väänänen today announced his formal retirement from Jokerit at the age of 35, ending his career with the same team he started his career with 18 years earlier, which included stops in the NHL, Liiga, SHL and KHL.
Väänänen, who began his career with Jokerit before joining the Phoenix Coyotes two years later, spent seven seasons in North America, with Phoenix, Colorado, Philadephia and Vancouver, before returning to Europe in 2009. After one season with Dinamo Minsk of the KHL, Väänänen came back to Jokerit in 2010, being part of the team’s transition from the Finnish League to the KHL in 2014. Väänänen, who also spent one season with Djurgårdens in the Swedish League, won two silver medals in the Kanada-malja finals, in 2000 and 2005.
Väänänen first joined the Leijonat as a junior in 1998, played in his first senior tournament at the 2001 World Championships, winning silver. Väänänen suited up for seven World Championships, two Olympics (2002 and 2014) and the 2004 World Cup Of Hockey, winning Gold at Finland’s historic 2011 Worlds triumph in Bratislava, a second silver at the World Cup, and a pair of bronzes from the 2008 Worlds and 2014 Sochi Games.
Väänänen won his first IHLC in the preliminary round of the 2003 World Championships in Helsinki, winning four more titles in 2009, 2012, 2013, and the last at the 2014 Olympics. We wish Ossi and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!