Finnish defender Isa Rahunen today announced her retirement from both Kärpät of the Finnish Naisten Liiga and the Naisleijonat national team at the age of 27, committing herself full time to her nursing studies at the University of Oulu during this global COVID-19 pandemic.
Rahunen, who comes from a hockey family in Kuopio, joined her native KalPa in 2006 as a 13 year old, playing in their junior system until being promoted to the senior squad in 2010. Rahunen spent three seasons with the KalPa senior team before joining Kärpät in 2013, spending her final seven seasons in Oulu, captaining them for four of those seasons. Rahunen was a two-time league champion (2017, 2018), two-time defender of the year (2017, 2018), and was named League MVP in 2017, making the First All-Star Team (2017, 2018) and Second All-Star Team (2019, 2020) twice each.
Rahunen first joined the Naisleijonat U-18 squad in 2008, koining the senior team in 2011, which saw her win World U-18 Bronze in her final year with the squad. In her senior international career, Rahunen suited up for Finland at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships, winning Bronze at the former and Silver at the latter, Finland’s thrilling yet controversial overtime finish. Rahunen also captured Bronze at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, in her only Olympic appearance, and was a four time medallist at the Four Nations Cup, capturing Silver in 2013 and a trio of Bronzes (2016-18).
As Finland has only won four IHLC titles in the history of international women’s hockey, Rahunen was part of Finland’s fourth and most recent title, in September 2011, while competing for the title for nearly a decade. We wish Isa and her family the very best for her retirement and the things to come, and for her commitment to provide medical help during such a critical time in our history.