Laakkonen completes Elite Series roster
Coventry Blaze Head Coach Danny Stewart has completed his Elite Series roster with the signing of 38-year-old Finnish forward Janne Laakkonen.
The 5’9” winger enjoyed a sensational season with the Blaze over 2019/20, during which he led the league for assists (40) and also scored nine goals in 43 regular season games.
Additionally, in eight Challenge Cup games, he registered six assists and two goals and was voted to the Elite League fans second All-Star team.
The popular Finn possesses a wealth of European experience which includes over 550 games and near 380 points in the top-level Finnish Liiga with HPK and KalPa.
After leaving his home country in 2013/14, Laakkonen has had numerous stand-out seasons in Sweden, Kazakhstan, Belarus, France and Poland.
With GKS Katowice of Poland in 2018/19, his ten points led all players over the two rounds of the IIHF Continental Cup which took place in Belfast.
In 2016/17, his 55 points in 52 regular season and playoff games helped Neman Grodno to a Belarusian Championship.
He is also a three-time bronze medallist, and once silver medallist of the Finish Liiga.
Laakkonen had agreed to return for a second season in Coventry, however with the Elite League season suspended due to the ongoing pandemic, he moved to EHC Lustenau of the Alps Hockey League where he produced nine points (two goals, seven assists) in eight games.
He left the Austrian team in early December and headed to Norway to play four times with Narvik where he had a goal and an assist before the Norwegian season was cancelled.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said: “I’m really, really excited to bring Janne back. He is a special player and has a quality that not a lot of players have. He makes our powerplay better and whoever he plays with better.”