A few things make Blake Lizotte, 24, an exceptional NHL player – one of them is a miniature Finland named Esko

Central striker Blake Lizotte took a different path to the toughest hockey league in the world. The compact centre is a Los Angeles Kings nominee for the prestigious Bill Masterton Memorial Award. The award is given for perseverance, athleticism and dedication to hockey. In Finnish: interior.


Seventeen coached the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL Todd McLellan54, is closing his noon press in Edmonton. He thinks for a moment before answering a question from Helsingin Sanomat.

“You know what,” he finally said. “Blake Lizotte is the conscience of our team. He dedicates and gives everything for hockey and his team every single day. He gives every single ounce of what can be found in his body. Then he charges, and does the same again the following day. “

“He has the seriousness with which he leads others. Perseverance that turns into efficiency from day to day. And on top of all that, he’s a pretty damn rogue rogue. He goes through anything.”

“Was there anything else?” McLellan asks. Then the media event ends.

“That’s what I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid.”

Edmonton’s Duncan Keith tried to take the pace off Blake Lizotte in Wednesday’s match.

Blake Lizotte plays in the middle of the Los Angeles Kings triple chain and is one of the smallest players in the NHL. The arm is just 170 cents. In teams competing for the Stanley Cup only in Edmonton Kailer Yamamoto is approximately the same length (173 cm).

Blake Lizotte is an energetic player who was really close to scoring the first goal right in his first substitute in the opening match of the playoffs last Monday in front of a ferocious Edmonton crowd.

“It would have been great. I tried to put the puck in the goalkeeper Mike Smith between her legs, but she got a cover in front, ”Lizotte says of the afternoon workouts after Helsingin Sanomat.

Lizotte hails from the state of Minnesota, a little village villain named Lindström, and has some Finnish roots.

”My first playoffs in the NHL. The atmosphere in the games is amazing, the fans are completely crazy. This is what I have been dreaming of since I was a child.”Lizotte says before opening her family’s story and telling her journey to Los Angeles.


Kings ’Blake Lizotte and Edmonton’s Evan Bouchard wrestling.


Kings ’Blake Lizotte and Edmonton’s Evan Bouchard wrestling.

Blake lizotten road to Los Angeles and become a Kings player has been very different from many others.

Many of the current players come to the NHL along an expensive path. They attend their school’s hockey academies, and parents pay for special coaching.

A young junior can have separately paid skating, shooting, racketing, skill, strength training, diet and mental coaches in addition to team coaches.

Hockey is practiced and played for years. Tournaments are flown long distances. Summers are spent at hockey camps.

For example, with the captain of Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkosilla was a personal fitness coach since he was 13 years old. Nashville Predators Matt Duchenen parents counted their son’s hockey hobby would have cost well over $ 300,000.

“I didn’t have any skill coaches or skating coaches. I was just playing. ”


Blake Lizotte says she played as a little boy all night on the outside ice of her home village of Lindström.


Blake Lizotte says she played as a little boy all night on the outside ice of her home village of Lindström.

But Blake Lizotte is the son of a single mother. Teacher father Mike died when Blake was 14 years old. Mum Liisa Lizotte raised her three sons alone.

“We held rehearsals in our little hall,” Blake recalls.

“After that, we played all night on the outdoor ice and in the backyard.”

According to Lizotte, every little boy in Lindström plays outdoors in a natural environment.

“It’s something we’ve often lost, especially in the United States. It was great to play with friends. I didn’t have any skill coaches or skating coaches. I was just playing. ”

During the summer, Lizotte and her friends played slippers, baseball, football, tennis and other sports. He says he is proud of his background in the small village.

“I wouldn’t want to trade my childhood and youth for anything else. Those years were the best. ”

Lindström is actually a Swedish village whose sister city is Tingsryd, Lizotte knows.

“It’s not a big place, maybe a couple of thousand people. It has been made into a film in Sweden, ”says Lizotte.

He refers to him who premiered in 1971 Emigrantsto the movie. Vilhelm Mobergin The four-part book series of the same name was written by Lindström. Erik Noreliuksen diaries.

“Lindström is a very unique place. Lots of Nordic people. My grandparents live a two-hour drive away in a village called Esko, ”says Lizotte.

“It is practically a miniature Finland. There, people speak Finnish in shops. They prepare Finnish food, make sausage and bake it. All dishes and tablecloths are Finnish. The sauna warms up every night. It’s great to see a small part of the culture with my grandfather Eino grew. ”

“When you go there, you feel like you are at a cottage in Finland. Unfortunately, I can only speak a few words, ”says Blake Lizotte, and pronounces the words“ sausage ”and“ Iittala ”fluently.

“He is a manifestation of perseverance.”


“I don’t have a size, I was never booked for an NHL team, the probabilities of getting this far were against me,” Blake Lizotte says.


“I don’t have a size, I was never booked for an NHL team, the probabilities of getting this far were against me,” Blake Lizotte says.

Here The story of the third center of the Los Angeles Kings becomes part of the history of Finnish immigrants and warriors.

Still living in good shape in Esko In May and Eino Lipponen the roots are in northern Finland.

Grandfather of Blake Lizotte Kustaa Lipponen was a well-known wagon landowner from Oulu. Gustav’s son Eino “Erkkuli” Lipponen published two books written in the Oulu dialect. The first is called Kollo-Talonen and another Rentals, Stories from Oulu.

Ekkuli’s son Eino was a war child in Västerbotten, Sweden, during the Continuation War. He later emigrated and met his American-born Maija in Minnesota. Maija’s family roots are from Kalajoki.

Eino liked a town called Cloquet for a long time The Finnish Hourradio program, in which he played Finnish music and told news about Finland.

Lindström and after high school hockey, Blake Lizotte played American college hockey for two years. In addition to hockey, he received awards for his academic success. After two years, the Los Angeles Kings offered a contract.

“I have no size, I was never booked for an NHL team, the probabilities of getting this far were against me.”

However, Blake Lizotte is now a candidate Bill Mastertonin named NHL Award-winning.

Masterton was a Minnesota North Stars a player who died as a result of an ice accident in 1968 – he hit his bare head in the ice.

One nominee from each NHL venue will be selected to receive a Masterton Memorial Award. The selection criteria for the award are perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Blake Lizotte represents exactly those values ​​that can be called in Finnish in one word: sisu.

“She is a manifestation of perseverance,” mother Liisa Lizotte tells Helsingin Sanomat proud of his son.

Blake Lizotte notes that candidacy means a lot to him because it tells him what kind of person he is even when no one is watching, and not just what is happening on the ice.

“Sisu Award? It sounds good.”


Blake Lizotte never gives up.


Blake Lizotte never gives up.

Another descendant of a Finnish war child in the NHL

Blake Lizotte is the second descendant of a Finnish war child in the NHL.

Vancouver Canucks Elias Pettersson grandfather Toivo Jokelainen came to Sweden to Sweden in a village called Ånge in the county of West Norrland from Paltamo near Kajaani in 1941.

I hope both parents died of tuberculosis, and so on Elvira and Olle Pettersson adopted a Finnish boy. I hope for a boy Torbjörn Petterssonille and IreneElias was born to his wife.

By Editor