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100,000 Celebrate World Ice Hockey Championship

Helsinki is cleaning up after Monday evening's festivities honouring Finland's World Ice Hockey Champion team. Some 100,000 people gathered at Helsinki's main market square to honour the hockey heroes.

Maailmanmestarijoukkue saapuu Helsingin Kauppatorille kaksikerroksisella bussilla.
Crowds in Helsinki's Market Square honour the Finnish Lions.

Huge crowds gathered in Helsinki's Market Square on Monday evening to celebrate Sunday's victory in the final of the World Ice Hockey Championships with chants of "Hooray Finland! Hooray Lions".

Team members met with friends and family members before making their way to the centre of the city where a stage had been constructed on the waterfront at Helsinki's South Harbour Market Place. Among those on hand to congratulate the team was President Tarja Halonen.

Some of the country's top bands and singers entertained the crowd as it awaited the appearance of the team with the Championship trophy.

Extra public transport

The Finnish State Railways VR added extra cars to evening and night-time commuter trains serving Helsinki in order to handle the crowds expected at Monday's celebrations.

Helsinki Region Transport provided extra busses and increased the number of runs on some routes in and out of the city centre.

100,000 in 1995

Just before the start of the evening's programme, Helsinki Police estimated the crowd on hand at around 50,000. That was soon revised upwards to 70,000 people and later to 100,000.

During the celebrations of the last World Ice Hockey Championship won by Finland in 1995, some 100,000 people gathered at the Market Square, which was the largest sport-related crowd in Finland up to that point.

YLE broadcast the event live on TV, radio and the web. As many as 1.6 million people watched the festivities on TV.

The celebrations mostly took place in a festive, but peaceful atmosphere. Police said they had no reports of serious disturbances. However they are looking into incidents where young fans climbed onto the roofs of the Lutheran Cathedral and the Presidential Palace during the celebrations. In another incident, a young woman was injured when she fell seven metres after climbing onto a crane.