Sami Kapanen is the new coach of Lugano and replaces Greg Ireland. After several seasons of “Canadian style” hockey then, the currently popular “Finnish style” will come also to the shores of the lake Ceresio. The fans hope that the team can bounce back and have a good season… the hockey passionate instead, hope that Sami Kapanen can make the team play in an entertaining way and not in too much “speculative” way like other nordic coaches.

Having said that… Let’s get to know more about him.

Name: Sami

Surname: Kapanen

Date of Birth: 14 Giugno 1973

Nation: FIN

Role: Coach

If you want to follow him on Instagram: Instagram profile

Sami Kapanen was born in Vantaa (Finland) on June 14th, 1973. The surname Kapanen is basically synonymous with ice hockey… both the father of Sami Kapanen, the uncle, the brother and now also the son, are – or were – hockey players. All of them played at least at the Liiga level while his son Kasperi is currently under contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL.


Sami Kapanen grew in the youth organization of KalPa and made his debut with the first team during the 1990-91 season. He stayed in Finland until the end of the 1994-95 season and he played always for KalPa except for the last season when he transferred to the HIFK of Helsinki.


Sami, who was drafted in 1995 by the Hartford Whalers, crossed the ocean on the eve of the 1995-96 season and never came back to Europe – except during the NHL lockout of 2004-05 when he played for KalPa – until 2008.

Over the years, he has collected 918 NHL appearances tallying 493 points with the jerseys of the Hartford Whalers, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Philadelphia Flyers. To note that at his time with the Flyers, he was assistant captain for two seasons.

We mean, a very long and successful experience, enriched with many calls from the Finnish National Team.


Sami Kapanen came back to Europe to wear the jersey of “his” KalPa as a Captain until the end of the 2013-14 season, when he officially announced his retirement.


To note that, starting from the 2003-04 season, Sami Kapanen was also KalPa’s owner. And for the same club, he became then assistant coach and finally head coach. We mean, it’s safe to say that Sami Kapanen has a 360-degree view of ice hockey.


Sami Kapanen is a coach that, frankly speaking, we don’t know and never followed except for the last Spengler Cup. We’re therefore unable to give our opinion about him. Anyway, as usual, we tried to get information.

We had therefore the pleasure to meet Wesa Koistinen, sport journalist at “Savon Sanomat”, daily newspaper of Kuopio, the home city of Kala.

Let’s see what he told us about Sami Kapanen.

Sami Kapanen is the son of Hannu Kapanen, who was coaching the Finnish U20 team when they won the World Championship back in 1998. Sami is very popular and known in Finland… Yellow media in Finland wrote a lot about his personal life.

As a coach, Sami Kapanen is still a rookie. When he decided to become the coach of KalPa first team, he told me that his dream is coaching in the NHL one day. For the moment though, his dream has to wait.

Sami wants his team to play a fast hockey and wants his players to drive to the net and be brave in the slot. His system of play requires that also defensemen are proactive in the offensive zone, moreover he wants to have as much as possible the puck possession. This implies that his team puts the opponents defensemen under a lot of pressure already when they’re in their defensive zone.

Sami Kapanen doesn’t accept any kind of stupid mistakes during the games. He had many heated discussions with his own players when they acted irresponsibly… like when they made violent fouls or took the gloves off.

I’ve heard that several players had problems with Sami because he’s tough.

In my opinion, Sami Kapanen is great when it comes to developing young talents skills.

Thank you very much, Wesa!

Well, Sami Kapanen has a great chance to gain experience in Lugano and maybe he can really bring something new. Time will tell us if the Bianconeri’s choice will pay off.


Sami Kapanen played alongside Kimmo Timonen for a year in Philadelphia. We recall that Timonen played 3 games for Lugano during the 2004 NHL lockout. Always in Philadelphia, moreover, Sami Kapanen played also for two seasons alongside Kim Johnsson, who always during the 2004 lockout played 24 games for Ambrì-Piotta.

When Sami Kapanen came back to Europe to play for KalPa, he played alongside other players who in the past wore the Bianconeri’s jersey. We’re talking about Toni Häppölä and Jukka Hentunen!