Kärppälegenda päättää uransa

Kärppien legenda Lasse Kukkonen ilmoitti maanantaina tiedotusvälineiden edessä uransa jääkiekkoilijana olevansa ohitse.

– Viime talvena jossain vuodenvaihteen paikkeilla rupesin vähän enemmän pohtimaan omaa jatkoani. Kevään aikana alkoi tulla selkeästi mieleen, että tähän on hyvä päättää, Kukkonen totesi tilaisuudessa.

Oulun Arina- hotellissa pidetyssä tiedotustilaisuudessa Kukkonen kertoi, että olisi halunnut lopettaa uransa hieman eri tavalla.

– Sitten se päättyi aika tavalla eri lailla kuin oli haaveillut ja kuvitellut. Tähän sopii se vanha klisee, koskaan ei tiedä, milloin se viimeinen peli on, Kukkonen pohti.

Kukkonen voitti Kärpissä neljä Suomen mestaruutta ja kahdesti on tullut kauden päätteeksi hopeaa sekä saman verran pronssisia mitaleita. Kärppien paidassa Kukkonen pelasi sekä Liigassa että 1. divisioonassa yhteensä 673 runkosarjaottelua ja Liigan pudotuspelejä kertyi 130.

– Olen todella kiitollinen tästä matkasta ja nyt on hyvä aika suunnata energia johonkin uuteen. Palata sinne juurille, Raksilan katsomoon pelin ajaksi. Sieltä se unelma lähti ja ehkä nyt on hyvä paikka lähteä etsimään sitä seuraavaa unelmaa.

Lasse Kukkosella on pitkä pelaajaura takana ja kansainvälisiä pelejä on kertynyt myös runsaasti Kukkosen vyölle. NHL:ssä hän edusti Chicago Blackhawksia ja Philadelphia Flyersia 159 runkosarjaottelun verran.

KHL:ssä kertyi 141 ottelua Avangard Omskin ja Metallurg Magnitogorskin riveissä ja SHL:ssä Röglessä hän vietti yhden kauden verran.

– Lasse palasi Kärppiin ollakseen vielä huippupelaaja kotikaupungissaan. Hän olisi voinut jatkaa uraansa maailmalla, mutta sitoutui silti Kärppiin monivuotisella sopimuksella. Kuvastaa hyvin hänen rakkauttaan ja sitoutumistaan seuran toimintaan, Kärppien toimitusjohtaja Tommi Virkkunen kehui.

Teksti ja kuva: Joni Hildén


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