Lugano signed – until the beginning of November, at least for now… – the World Champion Atte Ohtamaa in order to reinforce the defense. This is the second transfer of the Domenichelli era… and there is no denying that, on paper, this is another great signing after Ryan Spooner.
Let’s get to know more about this rock solid defenseman.
Date of Birth: 6 Novembre 1987
Atte Ohtamaa was born in Nivala on November 6th, 1987. Nivala is a town with approximately 10’000 inhabitans located in the center of Finland that gave birth to many hockey players… only Atte, however, was able to reach excellent levels and in fact he’s the only famous player born in Nivala.
Atte Ohtamaa started to play hockey with the Nivala Cowboys, but soon moved to the youth organization of Kärpät Oulu. During the 2007-08 season then, the long awaited moment finally came… the Liiga debut with the first team! As a fun fact, it’s worth mentioning that the current coach of SC Bern Kari Jalonen was the coach of Kärpät Oulu at that time.
A PILLAR IN THE LIIGA… AND THEN, TIME FOR SOME KHL HOCKEY
Very soon, Atte Ohtamaa became a pillar of Kärpät Oulu, where he stayed until the end of the 2013-14 season having also the role of alternate captain during the last year. In the period from 2014 to 2018 then, considering his talent, he played in the prestigious KHL. Firstly he spent two seasons with Jokerit Helsinki and then two seasons with Bars Kazan.
BACK TO KÄRPÄT OULU
After the successful time in Russia – where he even won the Gagarin Cup in 2018 with Bars Kazan – Atte Ohtamaa came back to his great love Kärpät Oulu, where he was immediately made captain of the team. His second stay in Oulu, however, lasted only one season… that’s because this August, he used a clause in his contract and signed a contract with Lugano.
Atte will stay on the shores of the Ceresio lake until early November… that is, the time necessary for him and the club to understand if there is the chance and the will to continue the working relationship until the end of the season.
Atte Ohtamaa – gold medalist with Finland at the last worlds – is described as a rock solid defenseman and a leader. Let us don’t beat around the bush, it looks like what Lugano needed.
In order to get to know more about him, we had the pleasure to meet Janne Onnela, freelance journalist following Kärpät Oulu also for “kaleva.fi”. Janne had the chance to follow Kärpät and Ohtamaa during the last few seasons. We asked him what he thinks about the player.
Atte Ohtamaa excels in defensive play. He delivers solid performances night after night protecting the defensive zone. One of the reasons he came back to Oulu more than a year ago, was the fact that he wanted to improve his offensive game. He had a lot of time on ice during power-play opportunites last year in Kärpät. Then again, maybe he didn’t meet the targets set by himself and/or the coaches, even though he set his record of points scored in his career. He performed better last spring at the Worlds where he won the gold medal with Finland than during the season with Kärpät.
A lot of people were surprised when he signed for Kärpät last season. That because the previous year he was named the best player of the Gagarin Cup final (KHL) and such top class players basically never move to the Liiga. Then… as much as it was a surprise that he came back to Oulu last season, it was also a surprise that he left after only one year. He signed a 5 years contract with Kärpät with an option to play one season abroad. So, after this season, he still has 3 years left on his contract and is expected to return.
Thank you very much, Janne!
Atte Ohtamaa is a World Champion… He won the Gagarin Cup… He won the Liiga twice… In other words, he’s a winner. And again… He’s a rocksolid defenseman… He’s also a leader… We mean, like we said, on paper he’s exactly what Lugano needed. Moreover, the fact that last season he wanted to improve his offensive game, proves that he’s a player that – even though he’s 31 – wants to improve constantly. That denotes professionalism, other than love for the game and the profession.
Welcome to Switzerland, Atte!
* As we said previously, Atte Ohtamaa made his debut in the Liiga with Kärpät Oulu when the club was coached by the current coach of Bern Kari Jalonen. That same season, moreover, there were also two players in the roster of Kärpät Oulu that we know quite well… namely, the former Ambrì-Piotta Janne Pesonen and the former Bern Jihamatti Aaltonen.
Always in Kärpät then… Atte Ohtamaa played alongside other players who have a link to our National League. Among them, the former Lugano players Tommi Paakkolanvaara and Timo Helbling.
* On the other hand, when Atte Ohtamaa won the Gagarin Cup with Bars Kazan… his coach was Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, who coached Lugano during the first part of the 2001-02 sesason.
* Atte Ohtamaa already played against Swiss clubs during his career, including the ZSC Lions lately. It happened during the 2018-19 season at the Round of 16 stage. During the first game played in Zürich – 4-4 the final score – the Finn defenseman tallied one assist. During the second game played in Finland instead – 3-2 the final score for Kärpät – Atte didn’t score points… in fact, he was even assessed a 2 minutes minor penalty that led to a PP goal for Zürich.
Finally, in 2015… Atte Ohtamaa played a game right against Lugano at the Spengler Cup! That year Atte was a player of Jokerit (KHL) who earned a 6-4 win against Lugano. On that occasion, the Finn defenseman didn’t score goals and wasn’t assessed any penalty.