Välimäki named Captain for Finland

** Courtesy of**


PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Defenseman Juuso Valimaki has embraced his leadership role with Finland at the World Junior Summer Showcase.

The Calgary Flames prospect will be Finland’s captain at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, to be held Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Buffalo.

“It means a lot,” Valimaki, 18, said Thursday. “It’s a huge honor for my home country and playing with that jersey on and having the C, it’s something special for sure. It’s a really big honor.”

He said he’s more of a quiet presence in the room than a rah-rah guy.

“I think I’m a guy who leads by example,” he said. “I try to be a nice guy, positive guy … not negative or yelling all the time. Before games I like to be really focused, by myself, not very loud. We have other guys who are better at that. I’m more a guy that leads by example.”

Valimaki is second on Finland with 13 shots on goal through three games here. The 16th pick of the 2017 NHL Draft also has been on the top defense pair and played in all situations.

“He has big-time leadership qualities,” Finland coach Jussi Ahokas said. “He takes charge on the ice, defends well, also can make smart plays with the puck. The big thing is on the team he is a leader, and we need those kind of guys.”

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