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JaeHi Goes International

The president of the JaeHi Fan Club, Ms. Sini Viiva, told me that as the fame of JaeHi grows and is reaching countries and galaxies far, far away, we should better cater for our international followers as well. Apparently the Fan Club keeps getting requests for pins and other JaeHi-related memorabilia from such well-known ice hockey countries as Peru, Bulgaria and Macedonia, just to name a few.

That is why Sini asked me to translate all the game reports from this season to English, but as losing games by one goal hurts like the famous stone up in the ass of Timo, I don't really want to revisit those memories. Frankly, my dear, the reports are also quite untranslatable for multiple reasons. I decided to take a slightly different approach instead.

Ladies and gentlemen!

I'm proud to present to you the mastermind behind those wonderful stories, our very own domestic man of mystery, Mr. Jussi Nykaenen!

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On the Origins of a Great Thinker

It was on the 29th of March, 1978, just as winter was giving way to spring, that God gave us this precious gift in the form of a healthy baby boy. Vantaa, Finland, still had 27 centimeters of snow, but due to the average temperature gradually rising above freezing point, it would all melt away within a week. Jussi would need to wait almost eight months before he'd be able to put his skates on for the first time.

Bee Gees dominated the music charts with Night Fever and Stayin' Alive. Legends say that every time Jussi heard these songs on the radio, he belted out a lion's roar so loud, that the shockwave was registered as far as the Urals, over 1300 kilometers away.

It also happened to be 66 years to the day since Robert Scott and his four companions perished on the Ross ice shelf in the continent of Antarctica, while trying to reach the safety of their base. Coincidence? I call it reincarnation. Jussi often demonstrates the same upbeat and pragmatic attitude even in the most desperate times during an ice hockey game, as Scott did on that faithful last march.

Just like Scott, Jussi is not one to pick low-hanging fruit, he always aims for the skies no matter what the task at hand is. Jussi is the one who brings the light to the locker room when darkness falls upon us; the one who finds something positive in every screw up; the one who makes us believe in a better tomorrow. That's the legacy of Robert Falcon Scott living on within him, no doubt.

Booze Blues N' Tattoos

To be honest, I don't really know that much about what happened next in Jussi's life...over the next 22 years, to be exact. I do know that Jussi was a dominant figure in the former municipality of Punkaharju in eastern Finland in his youth. Unfortunately there are not that many details of this period in his life available in the public domain anymore. Survivors tend to keep their mouths shut. I can tell you for sure that Punkaharju was not a place for the faint-hearted in the 80's and 90's, so to own a place like that means that Jussi must have been extremely well connected.

Pretty much the only evidence of Jussi's life in Punkaharju that survives to this day is this digitally remastered music video by a boy band Jussi formed in high school. (No, really, this is what teens looked like over there.) According to my sources Jussi himself was not able to take part in the video shoot, but he did help by giving the band members access to his wardrobe. Jussi also provided some props: if you look closely, you can see the "Property of Jussi Nykaenen" print on the side of the moonshine pan around the 0:35 mark.

I don't know how much Jussi contributed to the tune itself, but the lyrics are exactly what the beautiful mind of Jussi Nykaenen would come up with.

The Making of a Man

Because those early years are as hazy to me as they probably are to Jussi, I need to leave the full "Jussi Nykaenen: the early years" story for later historians to decipher. Let us fast forward to the year 2000, when I first laid my eyes on this magnificent creature. This happened when I joined Hiki-Hockey, where Jussi had just finished his term as the Chairman of the Board.

Apparently his past connections in Punkaharju had helped him to secure this esteemed, highly-paid position with HiHo. Rumor has it that one well-placed moose head was enough to convince the opponents. Having the appearance and demeanor of a Czech ice hockey demigod probably did not hurt either. Jussi is the only HiHo Chairman ever to perform Jesus-style miracles: in a team sauna party with 20 participants, Jussi fed the whole gang with only 5 meat pies and 2 packets of sausages.

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Madame Tussauds: what can you make of this?

You can only imagine my pride and joy to be able to start my rookie season and the new Millennium with HiHo under the wide guardian wings of this great man! I could not have asked for more. Learning from the best, sucking in every ounce of information, and examining meticulously how professionally Jussi handled each and every situation he was faced with (on ice, as well as off ice), really made me the player I am today.

If Jussi finds reason to mention me up to seven times in a single game report, he only has himself to thank for that. Another prime example of Jussi's effect on the skill level of his team mates is Sami Jaervensivu - although Sami has not had as long exposure to Jussi's presence as I have, and thus only gets named four to five times per report on average.

Age of Giants

While many of us are getting closer to the twilight of our ice hockey careers, Jussi shows no signs of winding down. In fact, just the other day he was a key factor in snapping JaeHi's three-game losing streak on home ice. When I watched from the blue line Jussi stealing the puck behind the other team's goal, I knew there was only one place where it would be seen next - in the back of the net, obviously. Granted, it took a few more seconds than it perhaps would have taken a decade ago, but personally I think Jussi took his time on purpose.

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The various emotions I experienced when Jussi scored his goal last Saturday

Jussi doesn't just want to stab the dagger in, he also wants to twist it for good measure. The shock this gives the other team makes their comeback exponentially more difficult, as we have seen a couple of times now. People are still writing songs about the (in)famous 2-on-1 snail offense orchestrated by Jussi and Tuomas Maennistoe in Jyvaeskylae a couple of years ago. I can't wait to see them execute the same brilliant maneuver again in the next game - perhaps in even slower motion!

Jussi Falcon Nykaenen: I'm proud to be able to call you my friend, my friend. Please sit close to me in the locker room again, I need your encouragement and kind words to carry me through to next week.