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Raimo Ilmari Helminen (b. March 11th 1964 in Tampere, Finland) is a former professional centre. Nicknamed Raipe and Maestro by his fans, Helminen stands as one of the brightest stars of Finnish hockey.
After a solid rookie campaign in the SM-Liiga with ilves Tampere and an even better sophomore season, Helminen was drafted to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers 35th overall in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. Helminen joined the Rangers in 1985-86 and tallied pretty good results for a rookie (10 goals and 30 assists). Unfortunately, that would prove to be his best NHL season, as the next season saw new management take over the Rangers; the newcomers promptly sold much of the Rangers' young talents, which resulted in Helminen departing for Minnesota, as he had been dealt to the North Stars for future considerations on March 10th 1987. He failed to establish himself there and returned to Tampere for one season in 1987-88. The next season, the New York Islanders gave him another chance in the NHL; his tenure was disappointing however, as back problems limited him to a 1 goal and 11 assists record and he found himself playing as much in the American Hockey League as in the NHL; this proved to be his final stint in North America.
1989 saw Helminen join Malmö IF, a Swedish team that was then sitting in the Swedish Division 1. Helminen made an impact and while his back altered his play, he nevertheless played very well at other times, earning the respect of the fans in Malmö; his 56 points in 29 games helped the team clinch promotion to the Elitserien. The team's rise was however not over; in the spring of 1992, Malmö IF became champion of the Elitserien, only two years after promoting. His back healed during that summer and an even better Raimo laced up skates the next season. His 33 assists were a league high. In 1993-94, Helminen earned the distinction of being the first ever foreigner to be crowned as the Elitserien's top scorer with 20 goals and 44 points. That season would see Malmö clinch another league title.
Helminen holds the record among all hockey players as the one with the most Olympic Games participations (6) and for the most international games played (320). He won the silver medal at the 1988 Olympics and the bronze at both the 1994 and 1998 Olympics. He is also a one time gold, five times silver and one time bronze medalist in the World Championships.