The Invicta Dynamos are delighted to announce the signing of 23 year old Finnish born defenceman Joonas Liimatainen with the blue liner joining the Mos having started the season with the Elite League’s Dundee Stars.
6’ 2” defenceman Joonas Liimatainen hails from Tampere in Southern Finland and it was in his home town that a then five year old Liimatainen first laced up his skates beginning a journey that would take him to Finland’s top league, Kazakhstan, Cardiff and Dundee.
Joonas Liimatainen joined the under 18 setup at Tampere based Tappara in 2007 aged just 16 and would progress efficiently through the ranks to dress regularly for the SM-liiga outfit in 2011/12. He appeared 36 times in Finland’s top professional league – ranked by the IIHF as the second strongest league in Europe – and managed 9 points from the blue line with 2 goals and 7 assists making up his tally. A loan spell in the second tier would follow in 2012/13 before the young Finn then took his career further from home in 2013/14 with a trip to Central Asia.
Joonas Liimatainen began last season with a brief stint at HC Astana in Kazakhstan’s top division before returning home to Finland in November and catching the attention of the Elite League’s Cardiff Devils here in the UK. The Welsh side offered a month long trial and, after initially seeing his chances halted by injury, Liimatainen appeared 3 times for the Devils making his debut on British soil. He was then snapped up by fellow Elite League outfit Dundee ahead of 2014/15 where he impressed in his 11 outings before a change in personal circumstances saw him depart the Stars. Now the 23 year old Finn will return to the ice in the NIHL South’s top tier having agreed terms with the Dynamos for the remainder of 2014/15 where his experience will prove invaluable as part of the team’s rear guard.
Speaking on the capture of Joonas Liimatainen, Head Coach Kevin Parrish announced that he was delighted to be bringing in a player of such pedigree and that he saw the Finn playing an important role in tightening up his team’s back line. Parrish said, “Joonas is only 23 and yet even at such a young age he has played at the top level back home and here in the Elite League. He impressed in Dundee with his simple but effective approach to the game based on good positioning and effective transition and I know many supporters up there were sad to see him leave the Stars. We’ve conceded more goals than I would like so far in 2014/15 but Joonas has a cool head and will undoubtedly bring us a little more composure in our own zone – something that should definitely help turn more results in our favour as the season progresses. He has a great background, a good attitude and can’t wait to get going and I look forward to welcoming him to Gillingham very soon”.
New blue liner Joonas Liimatainen will join up with his new teammates this week ahead of a potential debut next weekend when the Dynamos host the Cardiff NIHL Devils on Saturday at 5.15pm. He should then journey east with the team to Swindon as the side travel to take on the EPL’s Wildcats in the English Challenge Cup.