Ilves Tampere is a Finnish football club, based in Tampere. As of 2015 they play in the Veikkausliiga, the highest level in Finland.
During the late 1970s, Ilves went through lean times. Finally, when Koovee, which was in no better condition, was relegated at the end of the 1979–80 season, the two clubs decided to sign an agreement of cooperation. The best players of Koovee moved to Ilves, the most notable of them being Risto Jalo.
Ilves (Finnish for "Lynx", Finnish pronunciation: [ˈilʋes]) is a Finnish ice hockey team. They play in the Liiga at the Hakametsä.
The current logo was designed by Rauno Broms in 1963. In 1965 Ilves moved, along with its local rivals Tappara and KooVee, to the new Hakametsä arena, where they still play.
As of 14 September 2016. Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Ilves managed to avoid relegation and was promptly reborn as a viable championship candidate, reaching the semifinals in 1997 and the finals a year after that.
In 1985, Ilves claimed its 16th and most recent championship. Along with Risto Jalo, the key players of that team were Raimo Helminen, Mikko Mäkelä, Ville Siren, and Jukka Tammi. Repeating this success proved difficult, however, when in the following summer four players left the team to play in the NHL.
In the late '80s, Ilves had another brief stint of moderate success when coached by Sakari Pietilä. It finished first after the regular season in 1988 but was eliminated in the first round of playoffs. The next year it came away with a bronze medal, and finally in 1990 it reached the finals, only to lose to TPS.
After World War II, Ilves started playing its home games at the then new Koulukatu ice rink. It had another championship spree in 1945–47 when it stayed undefeated for over four years (albeit playing only 36 games during that period).
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Ilves is the most decorated club in Finnish hockey. However, they have not won a league championship since 1985. In addition to having more men's championship wins than any other club, they also have that distinction in every junior level (with the exception of junior C (U-16) where Jokerit has one more) and the most women's hockey championships. In total, Ilves has won 67 national championship titles, 30 more than the second-best club.
The last Finnish Cup competition in hockey was held in 1971. Ilves won the title and has therefore been the reigning champion since. In 1972 it also won another league championship, its 15th in total.
In 1954 Ilves was for the first and so far only time relegated to the second highest level of Finnish hockey but managed to return to the top tier only one year later.
In the late-1990s, Ilves suffered financial trouble and its professional team was reformed into Tampere United before the 1999 season. The initial plan was to join Ilves with TPV, but TPV decided to continue as its own team. As a result, Tampere United inherited Ilves' place in the second highest division, and Ilves continued to play in lower divisions, although they did not have a men's team from 1999 to 2000.
In the past, Ilves has also competed in American football, basketball, bowling, figure skating, handball, and volleyball. It has won a bronze medal in American football and a silver one in handball. Also, Ilves has won the Finnish Cup in handball.
With 16 championships, Ilves is the most successful hockey team in the Finnish championship league, the Liiga. The club was founded in the spring of 1931, and it played its first game against Tampereen Palloilijat the next winter. In the late 1930s, Ilves won three Finnish championship titles.
Ilves has since recovered and was promoted to Ykkönen for the 2013 season. Two years later, they got promoted to the highest league after MyPa lost their place.
Number 24 has not been officially retired, but is not in use. It was last worn by Veikko Suominen, who died during the 1978–79 season.
In addition to hockey and football, Ilves has a futsal team in Finnish league which has won the Finnish championship five times (2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011) and the cup competition twice (2006, 2010), a floorball team at second highest level and a women's ringette team. It has numerous boys' and girls' junior teams in ice hockey, soccer, floorball (boys only) and ringette (girls only), making the organization the largest sports club in Finland.
For most of the 1990s, the club struggled with financial problems and unclear issues concerning ownership. In sports performance, the low point was in the spring of 1995, when Ilves finished last in the SM-liiga and had to fight the lower league teams SaPKo and SaiPa for their place among the elite for the next year.
The colors of Ilves, green, yellow and black, were taken from what was then the coat of arms of the city of Tampere.
The 2000s were a fairly mediocre period in Ilves history. After their bronze medal win in 2001, Ilves lost in the first round of the playoffs in six of the next seven seasons and missing the playoffs altogether in 2003. They managed to avoid relegation in 2010 and 2012.
In 1974 Ilves-Kissat Tampere and TaPa Tampere merged with Ilves, and the club took Ilves-Kissat's place in the Mestaruussarja. Ilves won the Finnish league championship in 1983 and the Finnish Cup in 1979 and 1990.
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