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Finland begins Olympic preparations, announces first camp roster

Camp starts May 21 as PyeongChang selection process kicks off

Team Finland at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championships in Plymouth, Michigan.
Michelle Jay

Team Finland has invited 36 players to the first in a series of training camps to determine the upcoming Olympic roster, the Finnish Ice Hockey Association announced Thursday.

The 19 forwards, 11 defenders, and six goaltenders will spend 10 days in Vierumäki, home of the Sport Institute of Finland and host to the 2016 Four Nations Cup.

FORWARDS: Sanni Hakala, Venla Hovi, Michelle Karvinen, Niina Koukkula, Sari Kärnä, Suvi Käyhkö, Niina Mäkinen, Petra Nieminen, Tanja Niskanen, Jenniina Nylund, Annina Rajahuhta, Salla Rantanen, Saila Saari, Sara Säkkinen, Vilma Tanskanen, Susanna Tapani, Noora Tulus, Riikka Välilä, Linda Välimäki

DEFENDERS: Jenni Hiirikoski, Mira Huhta, Mira Jalosuo, Sini Karjalainen, Anna Kilponen, Rosa Lindstedt, Isa Rahunen, Eve Savander, Ronja Savolainen, Minnamari "Minttu" Tuominen, Ella Viitasuo

GOALTENDERS: Anni Keisala, Tiina Ranne, Meeri Räisänen, Noora Räty, Jenna Silvonen, Eveliina Suonpää

20 of the 36 were members of the bronze medal-winning squad at Women’s Worlds last month, including captain Hiirikoski and ageless wonder Välilä, who turns 44 next month.

The return of Räisänen to Finland’s net after nearly a year away from the national team is a welcome sight. She shared goaltending duties at Sochi with Räty and Suonpää; after her time away it will be interesting to see how her experience fares against the upcoming talent of Keisala, Ranne, and Silvonen.