Skip to content

Finnish fans celebrate 2011 World Championships gold by getting naked

May 16, 2011, 12:40 PM EDT

Comments Off
Sweden v Finland - 2011 IIHF World Championship Getty Images

When the Russian team shocked Canada to win the 2011 World Juniors Championship, I thought their celebration marked a new high in awesome foreign elation. While they technically remain on top since today’s story involves fan celebrations rather than drunken revelry by a team, it’s still going to be tough to top how Finnish people reacted to their team’s 6-1 gold medal win against Sweden in the 2011 World Championships.

Puck Daddy provides links to the photos, first-hand accounts and galleries if you must, but the basic gist is that normally even-keeled Finns let loose by taking off their clothes.

While the tournament isn’t given much attention in the United States, it’s a big draw overseas. If you need any more proof of that, check out this figure from a translated article via Helsingin Sanomat: about 1 out of every 2 Finnish people watched that gold medal game. The local TV telecast reportedly drew about 2.43 million viewers in Finland.

That celebration shows just how long Finland has been waiting for a gold medal in the sport (they last won one in the 1995 World Championships, also against Sweden) and how much they enjoy beating their bitter rivals from Sweden.

That Helsingin Sanomat article captured the, um, free spirited scene in Finland and what could be ahead as the team returns to the country today.

By 1 a.m. on Monday morning, both the Esplanades in downtown Helsinki were packed with jubilant hockey fans, such that the earlier rally of cars hooting their horns and with flags waving from the windows was no longer possible.

The nude statue of Havis Amanda in the Market Square was decorously draped with a Finnish team jersey, and a crowd estimated in the tens of thousands had congregated around the statue in high spirits, some of them stripping down to their underwear and jumping into the chilly water of the fountains.

The national anthem was sung lustily and off-key, people hugged complete strangers, and the crowds turning out to mark only the second-ever win in this competition – after a wait of sixteen years – were a mix of young and old alike. Many had come from bars in the centre of the city, where the match had been watched, first nervously as Sweden edged in front in the second period and then with growing delight and awed disbelief as the Finns drew level and then skated over the horizon.

(snip)

The crowds in Helsinki are likely to be even bigger this evening, when the team – and the World Championship trophy – are presented to the public at a more organised celebration in the Market Square from 19:00 until 22:00, just as occurred on the previous occasion when Finland won the title in 1995, and after Lordi’s Eurovision Song Contest triumph in 2007.

The homecoming event, arranged by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association, will also feature other artists performing, and probably a lot of singing and waving of blue and white flags, as the Finns wash away sixteen years of hurt since the last occasion when they topped the rankings in this sport that is immensely popular hereabouts.

Next time your favorite team – or even better, home country – wins a championship or gold medal, you might want to try to top those Finns. My advice is to let that urge go, unless you want to risk a public indecency wrap.

Latest Posts
  1. It’s back! PHT’s Team of the Day summer series starts tomorrow

    Jul 31, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Getty Images

    Beginning with the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Click for the full 30-team schedule.

  2. Sens agree with Lehner on three-year, $6.675 million contract

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT

    Robin Lehner AP

    Went 12-15-6 with a .913 save percentage last season for Ottawa.

  3. Price (knee) won’t start skating ’til mid-August

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Carey Price AP

    But he also won’t require surgery.

  4. 1st-rounders Vrana (Caps), Pastrnak (B’s) highlight Czech WJC team

    Jul 30, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Draft - Round 1 Getty Images

    They’ll face off against Canada and Russia at a tournament in Toronto next week.

  5. Report: New Jersey re-signs Timmins

    Jul 30, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    St. Louis Blues v Florida Panthers St. Louis Blues v Florida Panthers

    Acquired last season in exchange for Krys Barch.

  6. Agent: Subban hasn’t told me to make him NHL’s highest-paid D

    Jul 30, 2014, 6:28 PM EDT

    PK Subban Getty Images

    “We haven’t approached it in that respect.”

  7. NHL hit with another concussion lawsuit

    Jul 30, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    bettmangetty Getty Images

    This time, it features just one plaintiff — former Bruin Jon Rohloff.

  8. Devils sign Greene to five-year, $25M extension

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Alternate captain notched a career-high in goals last year.

  9. Contract talks stalled between Kuemper, Wild

    Jul 30, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Darcy Kuemper AP

    “Usually this isn’t the time to fight for the big contract.”

  10. New Red Wings assistant ‘couldn’t be happier’ to get opportunity to work under Babcock

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

    Tri City Americans v Kelowna Rockets Getty Images

    Jim Hiller is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Todd McLellan, Paul MacLean, and Bill Peters.

  11. Not ready to hang ‘em up? Selanne considering return to Jokerit

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

    Teemu Selanne of Finland (8) takes a victory lap around the ice with his medal after he men's bronze medal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Finland defeated the United States 5-0. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) AP

    Finnish club is moving to the KHL next season.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches