The future head coach of the Lions, Andy Pennanen, was very happy with the NHL's Olympic result | game

The ice hockey NHL's decision to participate in the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Games came as a pleasant surprise to Antti Pennanen, the current coach of Ilves, who will direct the A national team in the 2024-2026 seasons.

– I heard about it for the first time when you told me about it. Great news, of course, Pennanen told STT on Friday.

Pennanen will focus entirely on Ilves until the spring. Of course, the future national team competition is already in mind.

– I watch NHL games when I have enough time. Seeing them now will definitely increase, Pennanen said.

The NHL last participated in the Olympics in Sochi 2014.

The Puck Tournament of the 2026 Olympic Games will be held in Milan from 6 to 22 February 2026. The tournament will be played on an NHL-sized rink. In 2030, it will be played in France.

The decision to play the flagship four-nation tournament in February 2025, rather than before the 2024-2025 season, is, as has been speculated until now, a good decision.

– We will definitely have a tough competition in the middle of the season than before the season. Good news, too, Pennanen said.

Tournaments by the national teams of Canada, the United States, Sweden and Finland will replace the NHL's All-Star Weekend next season. While the decision may come as a surprise, All-Star Weekend has always been an important marketing event for the NHL. This season's all-star weekend takes place this weekend in Toronto.

Jukka Jalonan is also happy

Iconic Legona player Marco Antilla, who will end his national team career after the spring World Cup in 2023, celebrated his current team's 4-3 victory over the Ilves at Corby on Friday.

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Does the NHL's decision to change minds give up allure?

– I will still play next season, there is no contract. “But even if I play, yes, the A national team is definitely the younger men's responsibility,” Andila said.

Commenting on the match for MTV, current national team head coach Jukka Jalonen was naturally pleased with the result.

– After all, this decision has been waiting for ten years. It's a big deal and it's also true that the best-of-four tournament will be played in February 2025. Players are at their best in the middle of the season, Jalonen said.

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