Haverford Hawks Extend Hands Across the Ice to Finland


The Haverford Hawks and Viikingit ice hockey team from Finland spend some time together on the ice.
Image via 6abc.
The Haverford Hawks and Viikingit ice hockey team from Finland are getting some time together this week on the ice.

When they’re not playing hockey, the Haverford Hawks are ambassadors, sometimes they do both at the same time, writes Nick Iadonisi for 6abc.

It’s the 25th anniversary of the Haverford Hawks Finland Exchange, a program co-founded by Hawks parent John Wert.

The Hawks are hosting the Viikingit team this week from Helsinki, Finland.

The visiting players and their families will visit Philadelphia, do some practicing on the ice and end with a tournament between the two teams.

The exchange started in late 1998 when Pertti Rinta-Pantila, a friend of Werts, moved to Philadelphia with his family from Helsinki and joined the Haverford Hawks.

Rinta-Pantilla suggested the Viikingit team could come and visit the Hawks and play in their year-end tournament. It’s been nearly an annual tradition ever since.

“It’s funny, the 12- and 13-year-old kids, they find ways to overcome language barriers. They’re just kids and they all love ice hockey. It really bridges the oceans pretty easily,” Wert said.  

“Not many can do this kind of thing, you come from the other side of the world. I think they will remember this for the rest of their lives,” said Viikingit Head Coach, Jari Koski.

Find out more about this unique exchange program at 6abc.

This video highlights a visit from the Viikingit team back in 2018.

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