National Ice Hockey League Division 2 (South)

Finnish Defenceman joins the Stars

9th June 2016    News

Oxford City Stars have completed the signing of Finnish Defenceman Joonas Liimatainen from Finnish outfit Koillis-Pirkan Kiekko.  Joonas has iced in the UK before playing for both the Dundee Stars and Cardiff Devils in the Elite League.  Liimatainen, 24 started playing Ice hockey in his native Finland, coming up through the youth development ranks at Top Finnish outfit Tampere Tappara before being transferred to fellow Finnish team Vaasan Sport at the age of 21. Joonas averaged over a point per game last season while turning out 15 times for Koillis-Pirkan Kiekko.

Joonas became known to the Stars during some research the Finn was doing to explore University options.

Joonas declared  “I’m really interested in joining a team in a city that is known globally for their education and its beauty – I feel extremely fortunate that the Oxford City Stars wanted to sign me for the upcoming season and we could get everything sorted out. All of these factors made my decision to choose Oxford out of the other universities I got offered to study.”

Oxford Coach Simon Anderson was excited at the prospect of seeing his new man in action – Simon said “I am delighted to get a player of Joonas’ calibre. If you look at his resumé it is obvious that he should be playing at a higher level, but as Joonas will be studying in Oxford for the next two years, he felt that this would be a good fit for him to approach the Stars. I am looking forward to seeing him play and being Scandinavian he will be very skilled and skate well. This is a massive plus for me, as the style of hockey we play, we need good mobile puck moving D-men and Joonas will give us that. The other thing from a team point of view is that our powerplay has to be better than last season and all my scouting reports on Joonas, have come back with him being particularly good on special teams,which will be huge for us. This is another big signing for us and our recruitment, goes from strength to strength and I’m happy where the squad is at this moment in time.”

Liimatainen added  “I’m an all-round player who enjoys playing both powerplay and penalty kill. I played forward until I was 17 so I think that is the main reason for my willingness to control the puck and join rushes as well. Still, I have the knowledge that D’s main mission is to take care of their own goal first!”

Joonas Liimatainen is a 6ft 3 defenceman that scouting reports boast his great natural skating ability along with strong vision, good puck and stick control. Joonas isn’t renowned for being a goal scorer but his abilities as a quarterback style passing player make him a great asset to Oxford.

Joonas said “I have played some games in the Elite League here in the UK in the past seasons so I know that British hockey is more physical and linear than the Finnish hockey – I really enjoy that kind of playing style. Unfortunately injuries ruined both of my seasons in the UK and I could not help the teams the way I wished.  Having heard some interesting stories and facts about Oxford from the people there, that it is a beautiful city mixed with right type of student life and industry. In addition, it seems to be rather familiar among tourists worldwide!  I’m sure that I will enjoy my time there studying and helping the team the best way i can.”

Liimatainen was due to ice for Invicta Dynamos in 2014 but an equipment problem meant he was unable to join them in time for the start of the season.  Oxford have ensured this won’t be a problem for the coming season and look forward to Joonas joining them for pre-season training.

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