Alpo Suhonen - Wikipedia

Alpo Suhonen
Suhonen in 2008
Born (1948-06-17) 17 June 1948 (age 75)
Valkeakoski, Finland
Coached for Zürcher SC (1986–1988)
HPK (1988-1989)
Moncton Hawks (1989-1990)
Jokerit (1993-1994)
EHC Kloten (1994-1996)
Chicago Wolves (1997; interim)
Chicago Blackhawks (2000-2001)
HIFK (2002-2003)
SC Bern (2004-2006)
Ässät (2007-2009)
HC 05 Banska Bystrica (2011-2012)
Coaching career 1970–2017

Alpo Suhonen (born 17 June 1948) is a Finnish former ice hockey coach.

He and Ivan Hlinka of the Pittsburgh Penguins were the first European-born NHL head coaches in 52 years.

Coaching career[edit]

Suhonen worked for the Finnish ice hockey federation in the late 1970s until 1986. He coached the junior national teams and took charge of the men's national team in 1982. He was head coach of Team Finland at the 1984 Olympic Games and at four World Championships.

After coaching Zürcher SC of Switzerland for two years (1986–1988) and a short stint at the helm of Finnish Liiga side HPK, he served as head coach of AHL's Moncton Hawks in 1989[1] and then joined the coaching staff of the Winnipeg Jets, working as an assistant.[2]

In 1993–94, Suhonen coached Jokerit[3] to the Finnish championship[4] and then embarked on a two-year stint with EHC Kloten. He guided the team to back-to-back Swiss championships in 1995 and 1996.

In March 1997, he was named head coach of IHL's Chicago Wolves on an interim basis, but did not return for the following season.[5]

Suhonen was appointed head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks in May 2000[6] and was the first European born head coach in the National Hockey League since Johnny Gottselig in 1948. Suhonen lasted less than a year as head coach of the Hawks, as he resigned next spring because of heart problems.[7] There was frequent criticism to Suhonen's coaching citing lack of discipline and a country club atmosphere among the players.[8]

Suhonen returned to Finland and served as head coach of Liiga outfit HIFK from January 2002 until the end of the 2002–03 campaign. In November 2004, he took over head coaching duties at SC Bern of the Swiss National League A (NLA).[9] He coached the team to a NLA semifinal appearance in the 2004–05 season and to the quarterfinals the following season. He was released afterwards.[10]

Suhonen took the head coaching job at Finnish Ässät on 14 November 2007 and remained in that job until July 2009. Later that month, he was appointed as sport director of the Kloten Flyers in Switzerland.[11] He stepped down in August 2010 due to personal reasons.[12]

In the 2011–2012 season, he had a short stint as head coach of Slovak Extraliga club HC 05 Banska Bystrica.[13] On the first day of November, he resigned as head coach, but he remains in the structures of the club.

In June 2012, Suhonen accepted the position as sport director of the Austrian ice hockey federation.[14] In May 2016, he additionally took over the country's men's national team as head coach.[15] Suhonen left the Austrian federation when his contract expired in 2017.[16]

Other activities[edit]

Suhonen also produced a Finnish version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and ran for a spot in the European Parliament. At the time he was also the CEO of music festival Pori Jazz, and he has also written several books in Finnish.

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Postseason
G W L T OTL Pts Finish Result
CHI 2000–01 82 29 41 8 4 70 4th in Central Missed playoffs


  1. ^ "Schenectady Gazette – Google News Archivsuche". Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Alpo the Anarchist". Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Alpo Suhonen on Ässien uusi valmentaja". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 14 November 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Introducing the Kloten Flyers: over 50 straight years in the top Swiss league | Champions Hockey League". Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  5. ^ "History – Chicago Wolves". Chicago Wolves. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Suhonen Takes Reins of Struggling Blackhawks". philly-archives. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Blackhawks Won't Bring Suhonen Back". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 28 March 2001. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Hawks turn to another Sutter". Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  9. ^ Blick. "Alpo Suhonen neuer SCB-Trainer – Blick". Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Die fliegenden Finnen des SC Bern". Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Alpo Suhonen neuer Flyers-Sportchef". az Aargauer Zeitung. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Suhonen verlässt die Kloten Flyers". Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Actualité – Alpo Suhonen a déjà quitté la Slovaquie | Planète Hockey". Planète Hockey. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Suhonen joins Austria". Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  15. ^ "NEWS SINGLEVIEW". Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  16. ^ " – Abschied Sportdirektor Alpo Suhonen". (in German). Retrieved 7 June 2017.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Finnish national ice hockey team coach
Succeeded by
Preceded by Jokerit head coach
Succeeded by
Preceded by Head coaches of the Chicago Blackhawks
Succeeded by