Jere Karalahti
Karalahti Jere Kärpät
Position Defenceman
Shoots Right
6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
229 lb (104 kg)
F. Teams
Hamburg Freezers
Los Angeles Kings (NHL)
Nashville Predators (NHL)
Nationality FIN
Born March 25 1975 (1975-03-25) (age 42),
Helsinki, FIN
NHL Draft 146th overall, 1993
Los Angeles Kings
Pro Career 1993 – present

Jere Juhani Karalahti (born March 25, 1975, in Helsinki, Finland) is a Finnish professional ice hockey defenceman. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings as their sixth-round pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft.

Playing career Edit

Early career in Finland Edit

Karalahti played his first major ice hockey games for HIFK in the 1993-94 season. Karalahti was soon seen as a good physical defenceman and he started to have more ice time season by season. Karalahti's best SM-liiga moment came in 1998 when HIFK won the SM-liiga championship over Ilves. Karalahti played a good season, posting a career high in points (30). Karalahti improved his record by three points in the following season and was offered a contract by the NHL's Los Angeles Kings.

NHL Edit

Karalahti moved to North America in 1999 after difficulties with his visa, playing the rest of the season for the Los Angeles Kings. After a good first season, Karalahti's time on ice was reduced and he eventually requested a trade to the Nashville Predators, which he got in 2001. In the summer of 2002 Karalahti was suspended for six months by the NHL for a drug violation, and he returned to Finland.

Return to Finland Edit

Upon returning to the SM-liiga, Karalahti resumed his role as one of HIFK's premier defensemen. Head coach Doug Shedden made Karalahti team captain for the 2005–06 season, but he lost most of the season due to injuries. At the close of the season, Karalahti stirred up controversy by refusing to play in the bronze medal game for the second time in his HIFK career, citing a lack of interest. He was subsequently stripped of his captaincy. Karalahti's contract was not renewed by HIFK and he left the club he had been representing his entire career in Finland.

Karalahti was approached by several European teams including Jokerit and Kölner Haie but he chose Kärpät, a Northern Finland team which had rapidly risen to the Finnish Ice Hockey Elite. During his debut season Karalahti returned to his own level as the leading defenceman of Kärpät. Karalahti was released from Kärpät after he was arrested by Finnish police and taken into custody.

Move to Slovakia Edit

After being a free agent for some time Karalahti was apporached by HC Slovan Bratislava, a top Slovakian side which is the current Slovakian League champion. Karalahti's move to Bratislava came to jeopardy after the transfer fell because of a missing signature in the transfer documents. Juuso Pulliainen, Karalahti's agent, asured that both the Slovakian Ice Hockey Administration and Finnish Ice Hockey Administration have agreed that Karalahti's rights are owned by Slovan, hence meaning he can play for Slovan if he wants to. However, Karalahti has stated that he wants to clear things in Finland before rushing into anything.

Move to Germany Edit

On July 24, 2008 Jere Karalahti signed a contract with the Germany Elite League Club Hamburg Freezers in Germany for the 2008-09 season.

Canceled move to Russia Edit

In May 2009, Karalahti announced that he would leave Hamburg to play for HC Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League. However, only a few weeks later he changed his mind and decided to re-sign with the Freezers instead.

Substance abuse Edit

In a January 21, 2002 interview with Sports Illustrated Karalahti detailed his history of drug use, which included an arrest in 1996 for possession of various quantities of marijuana, amphetamines and heroin that resulted in a brief suspension by the SM-liiga. He told the magazine that he had been drug-free for five years. Nevertheless, on August 16 of that year, the NHL suspended him for six months for his third violation of the league's substance abuse policy. However, this time the violation involved alcohol, not drugs. Following the suspension, Karalahti returned to Finland.

His NHL suspension resulted in him being unable to compete in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

For the 2007–08 season, Karalahti made a contract with Oulu Kärpät, the then SM-liiga champion. This was his first time playing for any Finnish team other than his 'home team', Helsinki IFK. It was speculated that he would attempt a comeback in the NHL, and with this in mind had set a very strict contract with Kärpät that allowed no drug abuse and included regular check-ups with the team doctor.

On November 6, 2007, the Finnish police came to an Oulun Kärpät practice session and took Jere Karalahti away for questioning. He was later transferred to Espoo where he was heard about his further involvement in a drug-ring. The Espoo district court arrested him for suspicion of a gross drug felony.

On December 12, 2007, he was released from his contract with Kärpät.

On January 29, 2008, he was charged with smuggling 9 lbs (4.09 kg) of amphetamines into Finland. He also allegedly provided euro 20,000 ($29,000 USD) for smuggling operations, the prosecutor said. He has denied all charges The drug ring is suspected of smuggling about 20 kilograms of amphetamines and hundreds of grams of cocaine from Estonia to Finland last year. The charges carried a maximum penalty of up to six years in prison. Karalahti was convicted and given a 20-month suspended sentence. Both Karalahti and the prosecution say they will appeal.

On March 20, 2008, in Espoo District Court, Jere Karalahti was put on probation for 20 months and also fined 10000 euros.

Career statisticsEdit

    Regular Season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1993–94 HIFK SM-l 46 1 10 11 36 -- -- -- -- --
1994–95 HIFK SM-l 37 1 7 8 42 3 0 0 0 0
1995–96 HIFK SM-l 36 4 6 10 102 3 0 0 0 4
1996–97 HIFK SM-l 18 3 5 8 20 -- -- -- -- --
1997–98 HIFK SM-l 43 14 16 30 59 9 2 0 2 8
1998–99 HIFK SM-l 49 11 22 33 65 11 1 1 2 10
1999–00 HIFK SM-l 13 2 2 4 55 -- -- -- -- --
1999–00 Long Beach Ice Dogs IHL 10 0 3 3 4 -- -- -- -- --
1999–00 Los Angeles Kings NHL 48 6 10 16 18 4 0 1 1 2
2000–01 Los Angeles Kings NHL 56 2 7 9 38 13 0 0 0 18
2001–02 Los Angeles Kings NHL 30 0 1 1 29 -- -- -- -- --
2001–02 Nashville Predators NHL 15 0 1 1 12 -- -- -- -- --
2003–04 HIFK SM-l 45 7 16 23 148 12 3 4 7 2
2004–05 HIFK SM-l 42 4 10 14 93 5 0 0 0 6
2005–06 HIFK SM-l 20 4 11 15 43 11 1 2 3 2
2006–07 HIFK SM-l 51 5 9 14 132 2 0 1 1 27
2007–08 Kärpät SM-l 15 2 4 6 43 -- -- -- -- --
NHL Totals 149 8 19 27 97 17 0 1 1 20

International playEdit

Karalahti has played for the Finnish national ice hockey team in several occasions.

International statistics

Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
1999 Finland WC 12 5 3 8 2
2000 Finland WC 9 1 1 2 8
2002 Finland WC 9 2 3 5 10
2004 Finland WC 7 0 0 0 4
2005 Finland WC 7 1 3 4 6

External linksEdit

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Jere Karalahti. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

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