Lightning sign Finnish defenseman

MK Lightning have confirmed the signing of defenseman Martti Jarventie from Hämeenlinnan Pallokerho in the Finnish Liiga.

A former NHL draft pick, Jarventie has spent the majority of his career in his homeland for various clubs in the Liiga – the highest league in Finland and one of the strongest in Europe.

He represented his country at U18 and U20 level, captaining the team at the 1995 World Junior Championships. He was drafted by Montreal Canadiens in 2001 during round four of the NHL Entry Draft and dressed for the team’s AHL affiliate, Quebec Citadelles.

He finished third amongst Quebec defensemen with 21 points, his steady play earned him a one game call up by the Canadiens before he returned to Finland.

In 2007-08 he was the second highest scoring defenseman at Mora IK in the Swedish Allssvenskan. More recently, Martti spent four consecutive seasons with Finnish Liiga side Ilves, where his leadership abilities were recognised by him being both Captain then Alternate Captain.

Head Coach, Pete Russell, spoke of the qualities which convinced him Jarventie was the man to strengthen his team:

“I’m delighted that Martti has agreed to join us. He’s a two way defenseman with great leadership qualities and an all-round game that will make us better at both ends of the ice.

“Martti is a strong skater with a good skill set. He can defend, carry the puck, add offence from the rush and from the blue line and he’s also strong on the powerplay.

“Over the last month I’ve been re-evaluating our team – this was a change I felt we had to make, to make our group more complete.

“Martti has a wealth of experience at the very highest level and joins us from the top league in Finland. He’s a great signing and I’m sure he will help our team in many areas, both on and off the ice – and I know our fans will give him a warm welcome.”

Jarventie is expected to make his EPL debut, subject to clearance, this coming Sunday at home to Sheffield Steeldogs.

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