We are ready to fight
Article - We are ready to fight
Defenseman Lasse Lappalainen was already on KalPa Kuopio for their Spengler Cup win in 2018 and now looks forward to the return to Davos. In the interview the 34-year-old Finn talks about the tournament, his team, and the club – as well as his father-role on the team.
The Spengler Cup takes place in a few weeks. Are you already looking forward to the tournament?
Definitely. The participation in 2018 was a wonderful experience for us and so I am definitely anxious. The atmosphere was fantastic. I have never experienced anything like that, I liked it a lot.
KalPa won the tournament, which was a big surprise for many people at the time. For you too?
Yes, it was. The win in the group stage was pivotal for us, because it gave us an extra day off. That helped a lot in the end.
KalPa beat Ocelari Trinec, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, HC Davos, and Team Canada…
… yes, that was one of the biggest highlights of my career.
And how was the afterparty?
We began the celebration on the plane on our return trip. Later we went to a restaurant and sang “We are the champions” karaoke.
How did you experience the Spengler Cup as a whole?
It was unbelievable. You could feel the excitement around the games in the whole town, and the atmosphere during the games was amazing. On and off the ice – both were fantastic. But the best experience was to face off against other very good teams in this place and to see how they play. Yes, those games were very demanding, no matter which opponent.
What are you looking forward to most?
That wonderful atmosphere and to travel abroad with the family. That gives an extra bump on the ice.
In the opening round you will play defending champion Ambri-Piotta and HC Pardubice. What are you expecting?
Both are very good teams. Pardubice is the reigning Czech national champion and Ambri-Piotta is known for its good hockey and loud fans, so I am very much looking forward to it. We will have to skate a lot – and are ready to fight.
How do you see Swiss hockey?
It has improved a lot over the past few years. I followed a few National League games on TV, and it was a lot of fun, because they play a very fast and clever style of hockey.
And what can we and KalPa’s fans expect?
We want to win the tournament again. It helps a lot to win your group, so it is important to be ready for the first two games already. Yes, hopefully we can raise the trophy on the final day again. It won’t be easy, but it is possible.
What defines your team? The offense or defense?
Definitely our offense. We skate a lot and like to have puck control.
You are 34 years old and have played for KalPa almost your whole career. What does the club mean to you?
I grew up playing on KalPa’s youth teams, so the club means a lot to me. When I can play in front of my friends and family, it is something very special. KalPa does a great job in the youth department and develops many fantastic players for the league and other teams across the world.
Why have you personally never played outside of Finland?
That has always been a dream of mine, let’s see if it is possible in the future.
You are one of the oldest players on your team. How is that for you?
To be honest, it is a little weird sometimes. I like to joke around, but when leadership qualities are needed, I am ready.
Is it difficult to be something like a “father” on your team or is that fun?
No, it is not hard. I have two daughters and both are very energetic. I have told my teammates many stories about them in the locker room, entertaining them with my “dad stories”.
Tickets for KalPa Kuopio's group matches, as well as most other matches at this year's Spengler Cup, are still available online.
Text: SLAPSHOT – Das Hockey-Magazin der Schweiz Foto: Keystone