Friday

Raimo Helminen

Did you know that Finland's Raimo Helminen has played in more Olympics than any other hockey player?

In 2002 at the Salt Lake games Helminen became the first hockey player - and just the sixth Olympian overall - to compete in six different Olympic games.

Helminen first competed in the Olympics in 1984 in Sarajevo. He also represented Finland at the 1988 games in Calgary, 1992 games in Albertville, 1994 games in Lillehammer, and 1998 games in Nagano.

He won a silver medal in Calgary and back-to-back bronze medals in Lillehammer and Nagano.

Helminen was 38 years old when he played in Salt Lake. He continued to play hockey until the age of 43, retiring in 2008. He did not make the Finnish Olympic team that won silver in 2006.

Helminen played 16 years of pro hockey in Finland, with another 6 in Sweden and parts of 3 in the NHL. But it was his international career that people will remember best.

Helminen played in 330 IIHF sanctioned matches over 19 years, the most of any player from any nation. In addition to the three Olympic medals, he won six at the World Championships - gold in 1995, silver in 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2001 and bronze in 2000. He also participated in two Canada Cups/World Cups.

A great playmaker who briefly played with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and New York Islanders, many in Finland mention Helminen's name alongside the likes of Jari Kurri and Teemu Selanne when debating the greatest Finnish hockey player of all time.

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