A day after making history as part of Finland’s first-ever Women’s World Championship silver medal team, forward Venla Hovi has announced her retirement.
Well, as tears are rolling down my face, I never thought I will play my last hockey game in a World Championship final in Finland. To be honest I don't even care what happened, our team was golden and I will always remember it. Our effort went well beyond the color of the medal❤— Venla Hovi (@VenlaHovi) April 15, 2019
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me along the way: coaches, friends, family, fans,” Hovi told The Ice Garden. “The biggest thank you goes to my teammates. Nothing will ever replace the emotions that I got to experience with my amazing teammates; the memories will always stay on my mind.”
Hovi, 31, started her hockey career in the Ilves organization in her native Tampere. She won three SM-Sarja (now Naisten Liiga) championships, two with Ilves and one with HPK. As part of the 2018-19 Calgary Inferno she became the first Finnish player to win the CWHL’s Clarkson Cup.
I don't know how your day is going but we are friggen CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/RNnWVhDaoF— Venla Hovi (@VenlaHovi) March 24, 2019
Her focus now shifts, and she welcomes the challenge: “Right now I feel relieved and excited to move on; it’s almost like starting a new life. I have a great support system of people in my life and education to help me move on and explore life after hockey.”
At the collegiate level Hovi spent a season at Niagara University in the NCAA and later moved to the University of Manitoba in 2015. During her senior year as Bison in 2018, Hovi helped the team to a USports championship and was named Bison Sports Female Athlete of the Year.
After graduation she moved to an assistant coaching role, where she plans to stay:
”I will also continue coaching so that I can stay in the game and help grow the game and hopefully help as many girls as possible to reach their dreams.”
Internationally, Hovi retires as a three-time Olympian with two bronze medals. She appeared in eight IIHF Women’s World Championships, winning three bronze medals and one silver.