Officially Jokerit were established on October 27 1967 at their constitutional meeting. The club's sole owner Mäkinen chose to wield sovereign power, becoming in practice also the board and managing director. The insignia, winking jester, was adapted from jokers of various card decks and drawn by graphic designer Jorma Hinkka. Their home venue was Helsinki Ice Hall.
Mäkinen did not intend his new club to loiter in the lower series. Even though dramatic changes in the line-up did not appear directly, only a few players from Töölön Vesa saw prolonged employment: Timo Turunen would be the most distinguished, remaining even today as the club's all-time goal scoring leader. With him, Pentti Hiiros and Timo Kyntölä would form nallipyssyketju ("cap gun line", referring to their lack of height - Hiiros was the tallest at 172 cm) until 1975, when the latter retired.
Other mentionworthy reinforcements, that came later, were forward Jouko Öystilä and defenceman Timo Saari, and finally, head coach Matti Lampainen. In 1969, IIHF had loosened amateur rules by permitting bodychecking anywhere in the rink (old rules allowed bodychecking only in defensive end). SM-sarja underwent a tactical revolution as physical, mean play became a means to success. Lampainen, however, reckoned physical play unsuitable for the line-up at hand (consider nallipyssyketju). He guided the team, with success, towards a play that demanded technique and clever tactics. This became the trademark of Jokerit that stuck all the way to the late 1990s.
Mäkinen also enhanced the club's junior organisation by launching a competition of their own, called Kanada-sarja, with 500 participating junior players, a figure that cumulatively tripled in a few years. Kanada-sarja didn't survive the 1970s, but Jokerit benefitted from it through a steady flow of emerging talent including Jari Kurri, and by gaining a strong popular base in the outer urban zones of Helsinki.
Despite winning Finnish championship silver in 1971 and gold in 1973, Jokerit didn't develop financially profitable for Mäkinen. He started downsizing the team's budget by methodically replacing departing stars with junior players. Success slowly declined and Jokerit had to qualify against relegation several times. With Mäkinen's controversial manner of management added to these, the club turned into a center of turbulence.
Under new management, the club didn't instantly shake off its wobbliness, but then they peaked for one season. Having signed mainly outcasts of other clubs, they suddenly hit jackpot: Soviet Union's national team defenceman Nikolai Makarov was transferred to Jokerit. They had a near-perfect season, losing only the 1983 finals extremely narrowly - and bitterly - to local rivals of HIFK.
However, the management ran into unexpected financial problems, and success soon withered. Only a few years later, they had to avert bankruptcy twice, which struck a blow to their credibility, as a mass desertion of the players ensued. The first line was a shambles as wing Risto Kerminen departed and center Jari Lindroos almost did, but though he had signed elsewhere, the contract was illegitimately nullified. Few others, apart from the longtime goaltender Rauli Sohlman, remained. Jokerit faced the imminent relegation in 1987.
In the middle of the bleakest hour of their history, with Jokeriklubin Tuki Ry seeking to discontinue their association, new blood was rushed into Jokerit. In 1988 their 20-year-olds won the Finnish junior championship with several prospective stars: defenceman Waltteri Immonen would be captain of the team 1991-1999; Mika Strömberg the club's all-time best-scoring defenceman; Ari Sulander the main goaltender 1993-1998; forward Keijo Säilynoja a goal scorer and a penalty-shot specialist; and Teemu Selänne the NHL record-breaker.
Now that the club was spiced with such promising, new willing owners turned up to save them. They established Jokeri-Hockey Oy and became the first limited company based sports club in Finland. Kalervo Kummola, who played the leading role assembling the company, sat in its board up to 2002.
The team, reinforced with the junior champions, orchestrated a quick promotion back to the top level, now called SM-liiga. But once again, despite the phenomenal boost in popularity supported by the prominent scorer Selänne and other young star players, the owners ran into severe financial problems, caused by incompetent management and disagreements within the board.
Thus, they were able to reinforce the team with first class talent. Several successful acquisitions were signed, most memorably Otakar Janecky, who manned the first line center for several seasons, becoming the club's all-time best point scorer; Petri Varis, who became the club's best goal scorer of the 1990s; and forward Antti Törmänen. Together with the above-mentioned junior champions they formed a core of a dynasty of thriving times: Jokerit won Finnish championship in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1997, and European Cup in 1995 and 1996, plus Finnish silver once and European bronze once.
Harkimo further converted the club from semi-professionalism towards his ideal of professional sports entertainment, which was unmistakably adopted from NHL. His efforts yielded Jokerit their own home venue Hartwall Areena in 1997 - first such privately owned in Europe. Ownership was reformed into Jokerit HC Oyj, a public limited company. They focused on the new European Hockey League expecting it to evolve into a competition more money-making than SM-Liiga, and sought various other ways to expand. Most of these plans did not meet with success, but the new venue turned out to be a gold-mine for the club's business. Meanwhile Harry Harkimo tried to create an elite team to the British Ice Hockey Superleague, the Newcastle Jesters but the team was not as successful as hoped, so he sold the franchise back to the League.
As they set foot at Hartwall Areena, the club signed several star reinforcements seen to be required to win the two professional leagues and to replace the now slightly aged core. However, despite having sparkling line-ups, their performance fluctuated, ending up winning "only" Finnish bronze in 1998 and silver in 2000, and repeatedly having no success in European Hockey League (which turned out as a major flop in itself).
For the 1999-00 season Jokerit had a good team. The team featured good players like German international Jan Benda, Russian Dmitri Kvartalnov, Czech Miroslav Hlinka, longtime Jokerit alumni Petri Varis, Finnish top players Antti-Jussi Niemi, Tom Koivisto and Pasi Nurminen on goal. The team was soon joined by former NHL'ers Tuomas Grönman and the 5 time Stanley Cup champion Esa Tikkanen. The team was strong and reached the finals but lost to TPS.
In 2001-02 The team featured players like Pavel Rosa, Frank Banham and the 1995 world champion Ville Peltonen. With Kari Lehtonen's terrific form between the pipes and the arrival of Vladimir Machulda from SaiPa, Jokerit won their sixth Finnish championship in 2002.
The 2002-03 and 03-04 seasons yielded no medals for Jokerit. In the spring of 2003 Jokerit acquired forward Glen Metropolit from the Washington Capitals organization; despite his unimpressive NHL record, Metropolit became scoring leader of Jokerit in both the 2003-04 regular season and playoffs, as well as the 2004-05 regular season. Metropolit became a firm fan favorite, and many were sorry to see him leave the Finnish league after the 2004-05 season. Another important Jokerit acquisition was goalie Tim Thomas from the Boston Bruins organization. Thomas played in every game of the season bar two with a save percentage of 94.59% and a record-breaking 15 shutouts, for which he won the Kultainen kypärä award.
As the 2004-2005 NHL lockout was extended, Jokerit hired Brian Campbell, and Ossi Väänänen returned to his hometown team from the Colorado Avalanche in December. Teemu Selänne officially joined the Jokerit lineup in December, but he spent the spring rehabbing his injured knee and was unable to play any games for the team. With a strong team, Jokerit looked set to win the regular season and take the championship when an inexplicable late-season collapse allowed Kärpät to take and keep the regular season lead. The two teams faced off in the finals, with Jokerit losing three games to one and having to settle for the silver.
Jokerit team organization also had some changes after 2007/08 season. Team's General Manager Matti Virmanen was moved to work as the Director of Sports Activities for Jokerit, and was replaced as General Manager by former Jokerit-alumni and Finnish International player, Keijo Säilynoja, who started as the GM for Jokerit in June 15 2008. .Jokerit lost their 2008 preseason game against the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins by a 4-1 score. This was the second time Jokerit has faced an NHL-team, the first being the 2003/04 game against Toronto Maple Leafs
|2002-03||56||35||15||9||3||76||154||108||757||2nd||Lost bronze medal game|
|2003-04||56||23||19||14||4||64||131||120||869||7th||Lost in 2nd round|
|2004-05||56||34||15||4||3||113||163||96||743||2nd||2nd (silver medal)|
|2005-06||56||19||29||4||4||69||149||190||1303||11th||Out of playoffs|
|2006-07||56||32||15||OTW6||OTL3||111||194||144||....||2nd||2nd (silver medal)|
Other awards for the club:
|34||Juuso Riksman||L||2010||Helsinki, Finland|
|35||Joonas Hallikainen||L||2009||Helsinki, Finland|
|Number||Nationality||Player||Left/Right Handed||Contract Length||Birthplace|
|3||Mikko Jokela A||R||2009||Lappeenranta, Finland|
|4||Antti Hulkkonen||L||2009||Liperi, Finland|
|6||Mikko Kuparinen||L||2010||Kerava, Finland|
|7||Mikko Kalteva||L||2009||Hyvinkää, Finland|
|9||Vesa Kulmala||L||2009||Vantaa, Finland|
|10||Marko Kauppinen||L||2009||Mikkeli, Finland|
|14||Sami Helenius||L||2010||Hyvinkää, Finland|
|40||Heikki Hyvönen||R||2009||Espoo, Finland|
|55||Jere Ölander||L||Juniors||Helsinki, Finland|
|58||Nico Manelius||L||Juniors||Vantaa, Finland|
|60||Tom Koivisto||R||2010||Turku, Finland|
|Number||Nationality||Player||Left/Right Handed||Position||Contract Length||Birthplace|
|11||Tomek Valtonen||L||W||2011||Piotrkow, Poland|
|15||Janne Hauhtonen||R||C||2010||Pori, Finland|
|16||Tobias Salmelainen||L||W||2009||Espoo, Finland|
|19||Jyrki Louhi||L||LW||2009||Nurmo, Finland|
|20||Timo Rinne||L||F||2009||Lahti, Finland|
|23||Petri Varis C||L||RW||2009||Varkaus, Finland|
|26||Joey Tenute||L||C||2009||Hamilton, ONT, Canada|
|27||Juha Lind A||L||LW||2010||Helsinki, Finland|
|28||Jani Rita||L||RW||2009||Helsinki, Finland|
|29||Kalle Kerman||L||LW||2009||Kuopio, Finland|
|39||Jiri Veistola||R||F||2009||Vantaa, Finland|
|41||Ossi Saarinen||L||F||2009||Helsinki, Finland|
|42||Kim Strömberg||L||LW||2009||Helsinki, Finland|
|47||Janne Lahti||L||F||2010||Riihimäki, Finland|
|51||Jan-Mikael Juutilainen||L||F||2010||Helsinki, Finland|
|53||Tomi Pallassalo||L||F||Juniors||Helsinki, Finland|
|66||Olavi Vauhkonen||L||F||Juniors||Helsinki, Finland|
|72||Ilmari Pitkänen||L||F||Juniors||Viljakkala, Finland|
|74||Pasi Nielikäinen||L||F||2009||Oulainen, Finland|
|83||Tomi Mäki||L||F||2010||Helsinki, Finland|
|90||Tony Pulkkinen||L||F||Juniors||Vantaa, Finland|
|93||Teemu Pulkkinen||R||F||Juniors||Vantaa, Finland|
C = Captain, A = Assistant Captain
|Glen Hanlon||Head Coach|
|Ismo Lehkonen||Assistant Coach|
|Jarmo Kauppi||GK Coach/Team Manager|
|Lars Lindström||Equipment Manager|
This is a list of current or past NHL players who played junior hockey with the Jokerit organization.