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Torille anyway: Hockey fans celebrate despite world cup loss

Finland's 2-3 loss to Canada did not slow down the festivities in central Helsinki.

Manta ei säästynyt polskijoilta MM-finaalin jälkeen
Manta ei säästynyt polskijoilta MM-finaalin jälkeen

The Ice Hockey World Championship final ended with heartbreak for the Finnish Lions, but that did not prevent Finnish fans from jumping in the fountain and celebrating silver.

The 2–3 loss to Canada was expected to put a dampener on fans' high jinks, but the masses in central Helsinki were keen to party anyway.

The Finnish team had succumbed to a goal from Nick Paul with 6:26 minutes on the clock in overtime. It sent the Canadians into raptures and the Finns looked glum — but not in Helsinki.

Story continues after photo.

Image: Tomi Hänninen / Yle

Health officials concerned about the Covid epidemic had warned of large gatherings being a possible super-spreader event if Finland had won the gold medal, but the crowds celebrating silver were still quite substantial.

The Havis Amanda statue on the Helsinki Market Square is a traditional focus for celebration of sporting successes and May Day festivities, and Sunday evening saw it thronged with revellers despite the heartbreaking overtime defeat.

The five-metre-tall statue depicts a female mermaid figure, who has risen from the sea. According to sculptor Ville Vallgren the statue symbolises Helsinki and the city's "emergence from the sea".

The 113-year-old monument is regarded as being especially vulnerable to damp, drunken fans clambering all over it. City authorities earlier fenced off the statue to save it from being attacked after a possible Lions victory.

But while the scoreline will have disappointed many, the fences did not hold back fans from jumping in the fountain and climbing the statue shortly after the game ended.

Story continues after photos.

Hockey fans still went wild, despite Finland's loss. Image: Tomi Hänninen
Image: Tomi Hänninen
Image: Tomi Hänninen / Yle
Ihmiset innostuivat uimaan Mantan patsaan altaassa, vaikka Suomi ei voittanutkaan jääkiekon MM-kilpailuja. Image: Tomi Hänninen / Yle

"The fencing and security was planned because the statue is fragile," said Tommi Laitio of the City of Helsinki. "If it is climbed on, there's a real risk that somebody could seriously injure themselves. And on the other hand the statue could be damaged."

Laitio said that the security was planned for a gold medal celebration, but turned out to be insufficient to withstand Finns' reaction to a silver medal. He said that next time they would have better measures in place.

"The guards stopped a lot of people jumping in the fountain, but there was a limited number of them," said Laitio. "We have wanted to arrange things so that there would be a more limited number of people at once."