Finland’s Helsinki Roosters Taking International Approach in 2016 Preparations

Since their inception in 1979, Finland’s Helsinki Roosters have been a powerhouse in their own country winning a total of 18 Finnish championships, including the last four. In 2014, they ventured abroad and won the IFAF Europe Champions League title.

The team has had five undefeated seasons (in 1983, 1988, 1999, 2002 and 2013) and won Eurobowl II in 1988. They have a sustained record of excellence that continues through to today.

So to continue to improve they took a page from the NFL.

This year they invited the powerful Tyresö Royal Crowns from Sweden to participate in a joint international training camp. Although the concept of joint training camps and/or practices is not new, a number of NFL teams have done it, it is fairly new to European teams. International preseason exhibition/friendly games are relatively common, but joint training camps are another thing.


Helsinki Roosters head coach Juha Hakala

Roosters head coach Juha Hakala, who has been the mastermind behind Helsinki’s recent string of success, is also the architect of the joint training camp idea:

“Internationality is one of our core values. High level international games in three previous seasons have provided players and coaches valuable experience in terms of the game speed which we have been capable to capitalize in Maple league games.

“These international series which had overlapping schedule with national leaguea have required much more to prepare and also to recover, so for this year I looked for something different”

The Roosters’ off-season that started at the end of September has proceeded according the plan. The first concrete test to see how far the team has progressed will be this camp.

“The original idea was to invite the Royal Crowns to Helsinki to play a pre-season game. Because the Swedish Superseries begins earlier this year, we decided with Tyreso’s head coach Andreas Ehrenreich to have a two-day joint training camp in Finland.  Two days of practices, meetings, exchanging ideas and experiences between coaching staff and players, finishing with a scrimmage. Just thinking about it gets me fired up.  There will be a competitive atmosphere like the annual “Finnkampen” game between Finland and Sweden.”

As these videos show, with players arriving for training in the middle of the dark and cold Finnish winter, the Helsinki Roosters seem bent on continuing their success. In fact, even former players from Austria and the USA take part.

Link to original article from the Helsinki Roosters.

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