Sunday, July 29, 2012
Ville was made a good impression with his steady play at the 1983 World Junior Championships. Scouts liked what they saw in the Finn. Hartford picked him in the 3rd round, 23rd overall in 1983. Ville stayed in Finland and Tampere for a couple of more seasons to get some more experience. He played for Ilves Tampere of the Finnish elite league and also participated in his second World junior tournament in 1984,helping Finland win the Silver medals. In 1985 he played for Finland in the World championships (seniors).
Before he had even played a game in the NHL he was traded to Pittsburgh for Pat Boutette on November 16,1984. Ville's transition to North America wasn't easy. He couldn't speak any English at all except for "Beer" and a few vulgarities. It took Ville about three years in North America before he could communicate in English by himself. Once as a rookie (85-86) he tried to order breakfast on his own, leading to this memorable exchange according to his teammates.
" What would you like ?"
"What kind ?"
As a rookie Ville roomed with veteran Moe Mantha who taught him all the nasty words...he learned quick. Beside the language barrier Ville found the physical play a little overwhelming at first but adapted pretty well to the North American style.
Ville enjoyed 3½ steady but unspectacular seasons in Pittsburgh, scoring 56 points (11+45) in 199 games. In 1987 he played in the Canada Cup for Finland. On December 17,1988 he was traded to Minnesota where he played 1½ season (88-89 and 89-90).
That was it for Ville in the NHL. He returned home to Finland for the 1990-91 season where he played for HPK Hameenlina. He continued to represent Finland internationally (Canada Cup 91, Olympics 92 and World Championships 93). In 1991-92 he played for his initial club, Ilves Tampere and then headed for Sweden where he played three seasons between 1992-95,for Lulea and Vasteras. After the 1994-95 season Ville got a lucrative offer from the Swiss club Bern and went on to play there between 1995-98.
Ville was a 5th or 6th career defenseman in the NHL but could have played a lot more seasons in the league. The European style of hockey suited him better.