TAMPERE STUDENTS MAKE ANNUAL EXCURSIONS to Turku to jump on the market square, doing their bit to undo the post-glacial rebound and push the city back under the sea. Such is the rivalry between these two cities in Finland. Inland 160km north of Helsinki on a subarctic threshold, Tampere is the hometown of Finnish hockey and winger Ari Pullinen.
Born in 1958, he moved from Finland to Adelaide Australia and signed up with the Nordica Tigers, winning 6 consecutive premierships from 1981 to 1986. In 1980, he joined the Adelaide Flyers of the inaugural National Ice Hockey League. He was 22 years-old. He won the league in its second season and played against Grande Prairie Athletics from Alberta Canada on home ice at Payneham in Adelaide in May 1981. He won the Slapshot 83 televised tournament with the Flyers at the Macquarie Ice Rink in Sydney in 1983.
He won Goodall Cups representing South Australia in 1986, 1990 and 1997 and represented Australia in the 1986 World Championships in Spain. At the age of 41, almost twenty years after he first began here, he joined the inaugural line-up of the Adelaide Avalanche. Although hampered by injuries that year, he bought a wealth of experience to the club. He was still a finesse player and a powerful skater with a superb shot when he entered the inaugural season of the AIHL with the Avs in 2000, winning his fourth national championship, and his fifth in 2001.
The Tigers won four more state premierships from 1990 to 1993, then 1998. He won Division 1 of the old timers league, the Bendigo Cup, in 2002. Many years later, he resumed with the Tigers winning back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. He made a lengthy career in information systems and is director of Oconics. Ari Pullinen was there at the dawn of each of the three national superleagues of his era, an association with Australian hockey that has spanned well over three decades.
This text is taken from the Legends of Australia Ice website. For more about Australia's Ice Hockey Legends, click here.