Sami Narkia spent just a few months in NIHL North, but left a lasting impression across the league. Narkia inspired Blackburn Hawks’ run to the 2011/12 play-off final, which almost ended their 22 year wait for a trophy and he’s enjoyed another successful season back in Finland with Viikingit of Helsinki. Coast to Coast caught up with Narkia to talk about the Hawks and his plans for the future.
C2C – Tell us about your time with Blackburn.
SN – My experience playing for the Hawks was great. I have a lot of good memories from that season which make me consider maybe coming back for another year and maybe even bringing a friend or two with me. The community as a whole was excellent and I believe this was the success factor of the particular season I was there. The fact there wasn’t a lot of conflict and everyone enjoyed being part of the team has a positive effect in any club’s success in any sport.
C2C – What were the high points?
SN – The high points was the atmosphere in the games that was generated by the fans. It’s a real boost for any player, which gives him the motivation to give 110% in training as well as games.
C2C – Any negative memories?
SN – If I would have to say a low point of my experience with the Hawks, it would be my preference on how many times the team trains per week would be more than just once. But I understand the difficulties with obtaining ice time and there are factors which unfortunately prevent this from happening.
C2C – Do you still follow their results?
SN – In the beginning of the season I was following them on a daily basis. Due to my new job, school, current hockey team (playing, coaching and marketing the team), family and friends – it eats up a lot of my time and energy which resulted in me forgetting to update my knowledge of what is going on. But sometimes, yes, I do keep up with what’s going on.
C2C – Are you still in contact with any of the Hawks team from last year?
SN – I’ve been in contact with some of the players through Facebook and also some of the management, but not a lot.
C2C – Now you’re back in Finland is there anything you miss about England?
SN – Being back here in Finland has its good sides, but there’s a lot of things I miss about England. I feel the overall stress level in England was much lower than it is here and that’s a definite plus. What I mostly miss about is the absence of prejudice. The hospitality and friendliness of the people was amazing.
C2C – Tell us about your return to your former club in Finland?
SN – When I came back I was asked to join a club playing in the Suomi Sarja (Finland 3). I refused as Viikingit offered me the position of Player/coach and Marketing Director. I’m proud to say we lifted the team from Finland 5 to Finland 4 and are hopefully on our way to Suomi Sarja.
C2C – Is there any chance of you coming back to England or the Hawks in the future?
SN – There’s a good chance for me to apply for an exchange year in Britain through my company, but when is another question.
C2C – Have you a message for the fans?
SN – I hope they understand how important they are for the well being of the team. Without them the team would not be what it is. They’re the ones that motivate and inspire players to play for the Hawks. They are the cornerstone that drives the development of this sport in England.
C2C – And the players?
SN – You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky.