Pasi Raitanen – February 2002

SUPER netminder Pasi Raitanen has packed his equipment and headed north to join Edinburgh Capitals for the British National league playoffs, but has promised Peterborough fans he’ll be back wearing the number 33 shirt for Pirates next season.

It’s no secret that managing director Paul MacMillan and coach Glenn Mulvenna see the 30 year old Finn as one of the the players they would like to build next season’s team around, and it seems certain he will sign on the dotted line when his guest playoff appearances for the Capitals are over.

Pasi is flattered by local demands for his services again next season.

“I’m very happy with that, for it’s no secret I have enjoyed my time with Pirates. As long as people want me back, then it’s just a matter of agreeing a few details.

As long as I’m able to continue with my full time job and work around my hockey I’ll be delighted to come back. I’ve already had talks with the club about this and there shouldn’t be any problems.

I have been successful in my job as a sales rep for a company that imports scales from all over Europe. I travel all over the country doing demonstrations and handing out technical advice. The company is based at Hull and own the ED1 Kingston Jets. They are very ice hockey orientated and have been good to me giving me time off when needed to play for Pirates. Working from Hull means that I have also been able to stay there with my partner Diane and her daughter Emma.”

So his “details” are not likely to be about money.

“Money has never been an issue with me. Since joining Pirates several clubs have tried tempt me with bigger offers, but life is not all about money. Happiness to me is where the heart is.

I would like to think that I’m pretty easy going and easy to deal with. I’ve been happy with things during my time here and I hope everyone has been happy with me. I have a special loyalty to Pirates and never allow myself to forget that is was Randy Smith and Doug McEwen who took me away from Hull.

It was at a very low period in my life. They gave me a second chance and were a major factor in restoring my career…that’s something I’ll never forget.

That’s why I was so upset with all the trouble over Doug which finally led to him leaving Pirates. I was very sorry when things started to go wrong for him, but it was not all his fault.

With only two imports on the ice at times we were no match for teams with eight…you couldn’t blame one guy for that. It was hard to keep form together when imports leave and injuries take their toll. Gradually it wore the players down and that included me. My form slumped a bit.

I’ll always have great respect for Doug as a player and friend, and I have to admit that I even considered leaving myself when he quit. It was a difficult time.

But then came Glenn. We sat down and had a good talk. He’s a smart guy and we get along well. As long as he wants me here, then I’ll stay. He’s definitely the man to bring in the players to make Pirates strong again.”

Pasi has been playing in Britain for five years now. Born in Forssa, 60 miles north of Helsinki he was skating at the age of two, but did not manage to get a team until he was ten.

A big kid he was regarded as D man material, but by his own admission never amounted to anything as a skater and ended up a goalie. The rest is history.

Pasi is now considered by many throughout the country as the best goaltender in the BNL. Fans here feel he has few equals even in the Superleague, but then they are totally biased.

Which begs the question, why has he not joined a Superleague club? He did play back-up netminder for Ayr Scottish Eagles, but finally turned them down when Randy and Doug offered him the number one slot at Peterborough.

Consistency has been the name of the game for Pasi. Adored by the fans, the feelings are totally reciprocal.

“They are the greatest …… right from my first game here they have inspired me and lifted my spirits high when they were down. They have always stood by the team, support us noisily home and away, and are always there when the chips are down and when we need their help most.”

Pirates have had their super heroes down the years. Players like John Lawless, Randy Smith are but two, but seldom has there been a more popular player than Pasi.

Constantly performing heroics from Cardiff to Dundee his six foot bulky frame belies his split second reactions and cat-like agility. Throwing his 17 stone body into the splits during his pre-game warm is truly a sight to behold.

He seldom has an easy game and has seen more rubber flying around his head this season that a stranded hedgehog on the A1.

Now Pasi has extended his season by joining the Capitals in Edinburgh.

“It’s going to be interesting, but of course it would have been great to be there with the Pirates.”

He can expect to see his faithful Peterborough fans in the crowd at some of his games.

Before heading north Pasi was honored by players and fans alike when he received the “Player of the Year” and “Players’ Player of the Year” awards at the annual presentation night, the final accolade to another outstanding season.

Thanks to Ian “Scoop” MacFarlane for the interview