Ice hockey remains popular in Pyhäjoki year after year. The local ice arena was built in 2002, and it has become important in the hearts of local amateur hockey players and amateur players from the neighboring municipalities. The ice arena is also the home of Pyhäjoen Joki-Kiekko’s G and F junior teams.
Kati Ukonsaari, the chairperson of Joki-Kiekko, knows well how important ice hockey is in Northern Ostrobothnia.
“There are not many children here, and thus not many new amateur hockey players, but there is plenty of enthusiasm.”
Ukonsaari was one of the founders of the ice hockey team in 1994. Nowadays, the team has around 50 junior players, both male and female.
Joki-Kiekko cooperates with Fennovoima. In the spring of 2017, the ice arena’s lighting system was renovated with sponsorship funds provided by the company. New insulation was added the same summer. Rosatom and the municipality of Pyhäjoki assisted in their acquisition.
“It was a huge effort, particularly for the parents of our juniors,” Ukonsaari says about the renovation project that took a couple of weeks to complete.
“There is plenty of enthusiasm.”
The lighting renovation provided the amateur hockey players with a remotely controlled and adjustable lighting system that covers the entire arena. It has been praised a lot.
“Now you can switch on the maintenance lights or game lights, and you don’t have to wait 15 minutes after having switched the lights off to be able to switch them back on. It was a major renovation and a major improvement.”
Important environmental actions
Fennovoima and the amateur hockey players both want to do good for the environment. The new lighting system clearly improved the arena’s energy efficiency.
Small everyday deeds are also needed – and are being done, Ukonsaari confirms.
“We recycle cardboard, paper, and bottles,” she says.
Sporty girl won
Ukonsaari ended up establishing the ice hockey team because her little brother was an amateur hockey player. Her more than twenty years volunteering for the benefit of ice hockey was acknowledged last summer when she received the honorary title of Pauha-Maija from the Pyhäjoki education and culture committee. Ukonsaari has also volunteered for the Finnish Red Cross.
Every year, a cultural figure or a person who promotes the region by means of active volunteer work in the municipality is named Pauha-Maija or Pauha-Matti.
“It does make you a little sentimental when you, a long-term sports enthusiast, are acknowledged as a cultural figure,” Ukonsaari admits.
Unofficial recruitment announcement
Ukonsaari is still interested in ice hockey, and the enthusiasm has spread within the family: first her brother took up the hobby, and then her son played as well.
Someone else needs to grab the gavel soon, however, because Ukonsaari’s post as the head of the team is reaching its end.
“I will step down in the spring of 2020,” she confirms – and encourages anyone interested in the post to at least consider applying. Ukonsaari says that the ice hockey team is the embodiment of many of the things that are good and worth retaining in a small municipality.
“We do things together, helping each other out – and everybody knows each other. These are major strengths.”
Involved in the community
For Fennovoima, sponsorships are one of the means of supporting the local community and participating in its activity. The company supports recreational activities for children and young people in Pyhäjoki and its neighboring areas, in particular.
The sponsorship relationship with Pyhäjoen Joki-Kiekko started years ago, and the cooperation has been constantly developed. All of the sponsored are encouraged to act for the environment.
“Projects that benefit the entire community have been realized with Joki-Kiekko and the Pyhäjoki ice arena company, for example,” says Kati Mehtomaa, Fennovoima’s Communications Officer, referring to renovations of the ice hockey team’s home arena to make it more energy efficient.
While adding more insulation to the walls of an ice arena or installing a more energy efficient lighting system are fairly major investments, the environmental deeds need not be large or considerable in monetary terms.
“The teams we sponsor have recycled their competitive or training equipment and sorted waste, for example,” Mehtomaa says.
The sponsored have also considered whether they could come to their hobby without using a car – perhaps they could use a bicycle or walk?
“If a car is absolutely necessary, agreements on carpooling have been made in many cases.”
Another environmental deed is gathering trash from roadsides and beaches.
“Restoration of water areas is extremely valuable work, for instance.”
- Fennovoima supports sports, culture, and charitable projects in Pyhäjoki and its neighboring areas. The sponsorship focuses on children and young people.
- This year, there were a total of 49 sponsored projects and associations.
- Application for sponsorships in 2020 will open on February 1.
- Fennovoima invites the applicants to act for the environment.