Vesa Viitakoski


Vesa Viitakoski

Infobox Ice Hockey Player



image_size = 225px
position = Left Wing
shoots = Left
nickname = Vesku
height_ft = 6
height_in = 2
weight_lb = 212
team = Ilves Tampere
league = SM-liiga
nationality = FIN
birth_date = birth date and age|1971|2|13
birth_place = Lappeenranta, FIN
career_start = 1988
draft = 32nd overall
draft_year = 1990
draft_team = Calgary Flames

Vesa Viitakoski (born February 13, 1971 in Lappeenranta, Finland) is a professional ice hockey player. As of April, 2008, he is playing for Kärpät in the Finnish SM-liiga.

Career

Viitakoski started his professional career in his home town, Lappeenranta, playing for two seasons in the local club, SaiPa. When SaiPa was relegated at the end of the 1990 SM-liiga season, Viitakoski moved to Tappara Tampere. After three seasons there and a strong performance in the national team, especially in the 1992 IIHF World Championships from which Team Finland came home with silver medals, he signed with the Calgary Flames.

All in all, Viitakoski appeared in 23 NHL games with the Flames in the 1993–94 and 94–95 seasons, scoring two goals and providing four assists. He also played 198 AHL games as a member of the Saint John Flames and Cornwall Aces squads, with a point total of 72+106=178. Despite this consistent strong performance in the AHL he never broke through in the NHL; this has been attributed to disfavor by the then head coach Dave King.

Abandoning hope for an NHL career, Viitakoski returned to Europe to play in the Swedish Elitserien. After one season there with HV71 he came back to Finland and Tampere, but not to Tappara but their local rival, Ilves. Since then, Viitakoski played in Ilves, except for one and a half seasons spent in Brynäs IF of the Elitserien, in 2004–05, until he signed with Kärpät in April 2008.

External links

*hockeydb|5577


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