It’s no secret that the Finnish nation can party pretty hard. This northern, cold and sparsely populated nation has a special relationship with alcohol. A relationship that was laid bare when Finland won the hockey world championship in 2019. This victory for Finland triggered a seriously wild national party that led to various wild footage. Let’s look at a classic Finnish celebration, from naked hockey fans to champagne showers!
The victory came when Finland managed to beat one of the global centers of international hockey, Canada, in a 3-1 victory. The win saw Finland achieve their first hockey world title in eight years. The country then erupted into an insane party with naked hockey fans diving into fountains in Helsinki, fireworks, and champagne showers.
The fans can be heard shouting “Mörkö!”. This is the nickname of the captain of the team, Marko Anttila. He’s 2 meters tall (6’8”), so he’s called the Beast or “Mörkö” in Finnish. He made two crucial goals in previous matches and scored two goals in the final, so he became a legend and a meme during the championship.
The fact that the temperature outside was only 10 degrees Celsius (50 F), these naked hockey fans were not dissuaded from diving into the icy cold water to celebrate their national victory and the incredible achievement for the Finnish hockey team.
The wild celebration can be understood when looked at from the Finnish perspective. When it comes to television viewing statistics and game attendance figures, ice hockey is the most popular sport in Finland. It is also the 3rd most popular sport enjoyed by Finnish children. The sport was established 100 years ago in Finland in 1920.
“Finland is now a country well know for producing a range of top-class ice hockey players who have gone on to be prominent on the international ice hockey stage.”
If you think that the naked hockey celebration was wild in 2019, cast your mind back to before the age of smartphones when Finland won the championship for the first time back in 1995. The era was an incredibly tough one for Finland. The recent collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 meant that the country had lost 30% of its exports. Between 1991 and 1994 unemployment in Finland jumped by 13% and there were few people untouched by the economic hardship.
As 1995 came along, things were looking up. Employment rates were on the rise and the World Hockey Championship Match was something the entire country was united in eagerly looking forward to. When Finland won gold, the entire country went berserk. Amidst the previous hardship and economic toil, this was a rare national positive moment that heralded the end of the dark era for the Finnish psyche.
Thus, this 1995 is echoed in every hockey win since. Such World Hockey Championships hold a special meaning for many Finns, hence why you see such an intense level of national celebration. Whether it’s naked hockey fans jumping in fountains or people showering each other with champagne!
Today, Finland holds third place in the IIHF World Rankings for both the men’s and women’s national team programs. It’s a country well known for producing a range of top-class ice hockey players who have gone on to be prominent on the international ice hockey stage.