After 12-year “time-out-from-hockey”-break the Estonian goalie Allan Mäkinen is back on the ice.

Archivpicture Goalie Allan Märkinen in action © Allan Märkinen

There was a very unusual comeback last week. That hockey cracks often take a “time-out-from-hockey” is not uncommon. Usually, such a break takes 1-2 years. The Estonian goalie Allan Mäkinen took 12 years. As a 21-year-old he had to end his career due to injury.

Born in Kohtla-Järve, Estonia, Mäkinen started his career in Finland at Kookoo. There he played in the juniors in the U18 and U20 team, but got very little playful ice age. Even when he moved to the second Finnish league to HC Kuusankoski, it did not get better. Then came the army, school and and the goalie find no time and he end his career very early. Now, 12 years later, the fire began to blaze again and Mäkinen came to the Piranhas in the finish III Divisioona to a commitment. We asked Allan, who incidentally was in a hockey camp together with Siim Liivik, for an interview. We asked him about the goalie situation in Estonian ice hockey and his surprising return, which the 31-year-old Goalie was happy to follow.

BalticsMedia: Hello Allan, first thank you for your time, which you have taken for this talk. The reason for this interview is your comeback after 11 years, for a goalie you are in the best years. please give us a little personal review of the past, why you stopped your carrier.

Allan Mäkinen: “First of all thank you Franz for interviewing me! I think when I was still playing active and stopped my career, I was serving in Finnish defense forces at the time. So I did not have to time to go practice and had some issues with coaching staff. And had some time to think is all that effort that I have spent towards hockey worth it. So after serving my time in army, I got in school and got hired by current employee, it was kind of a time to focus on future. Cause there are just too little of time in a day, to fit all of those in 24hours.”

Archivpicture Goalie Allan Märkinen in action © Allan Märkinen

BM: About your comback you said “the fire starts burn” – what you miss definitly in the past years – the athmosphaere in locker rooms (after the game, hahaha), hockey flair, etc…what was the best point for you.

AM: “I think the fire was always there, but the courage to go back play in competitive league was absent. I tried to go back to hockey in 2014, got new gear and all, but had injury and broke my ACL on a knee. So that was kind of a “sign” that it’s just not for me. I have always loved to watch hockey, but the best part of it was playing myself as a goaltender and make those critical saves. The adrenaline boost and the cheers, its just a feeling you cannot gain from anywhere else.”

BM: The club, Piranhas, will play in the III Divisioon, did also had a break for last two seasons, where will be the focus, a lot of great, older players are start a “second” carrier.

AM: “The main thing of Piranhas is to establish and organization to provide younger players who are not more eligible to play in juniors, to have and option between Titaanit that plays in Suomi-Sarja or Beer League in Kotka. There have been a big hole in there, so the players go to another cities to play with rival teams, even we have here in Kotka two good rinks, one practice rink and one better establishment for audience also.”

BM: What is your impression of the new team and do you know your new collegues?

AM: “There are many good players on a team, with few of them I actually played in juniors. I think the Piranhas going to be very competitive this season with roster like that. I know that there are many good teams also in our division, but I think if everything goes well we going to be very high in that table after first season.”

BM: Do you follow as an Estonian the Hockey Sport in your country? The U20 of Estonia won in Tallinn as host the championship in this year in Div IIA and promoted in I B. So the future is looks good for this small country.

AM: “I follow constantly IIHF pages, so its kind of interesting to see how Estonian hockey have developed in those past years. Hopefully they get more active players and more rinks there, so they can develop even more. For an example Slovenia that is also small country and not that many players, they have done good job there.”

BM: Do you follow also the seniors Team? The 4th place in end result in Championship was not was the Staff wished. What Do you think about it, and is this maybe for you an option? Number #1 is Villem-Henrik Koitmaa, but after him is not really a big alternative about goalies.

AM: “Yes I follow them as well. Villem is a great goalie, and still young goalie who can be their number one for years! And hopefully there going to be in a future a competition for him from younger guys. I think personally that this option is closed for myself. We can let that to the younger goalies! Current pace of games that I’m going to have is just fine, with family and job I have plenty of hockey in my life.”

BM: Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia plans to make Hockey more popular in this countries with the international “Baltic League” with 8 Teams, to give the players an “international flair”. What you think about this idea, the will start october 2019.

AM: “I think the idea is brilliant, countries aren’t so big so they totally can pull of this kind of a league. And it’s very good for any player to get that international flair. Need to add this league to must watch list, if there is somewhere to see games on a TV.”

BM: In the last season, your countryman Siim Liivk caused a sensation in the Austrian playoffs and has won the championship with his team, KAC. You know, you’re the same age.

AM: “Yes, I know Siim but not in person, and I have heard and read about his achievements. I have meet him once in a hockey camp, when we were like 14 years old. Over time, we have lost sight of each other and unfortunately no contact. I would like to congratulate him later on this way.”

BM: What your personality goals for the future, play more furter years and maybe a position in Hockey as Coach, etc.

AM: “My personal goals for now is to stay healthy and to give my team a chance for a win every night we are playing. Time going to show how many years I still have left in me, probably this year is going to tell a lot about that. What comes to coaching.. that’s probably not for me, only if my son starts to play hockey when he is old enough. Then I might start coaching, if I have something to give as a coach.”

BM: Allan, thank you for your time and a successful, injury free season, and all the best for your hockey-life.

AM: “Thank you for having interest in me after so many years!”