From Atoms to Worlds an interview with Kai

Kai Miettinen is the only Canberra player playing in the Australian Senior Men’s team competing in the IIHF Men’s World Championships Division II Group A in Romania starting on April 3rd. This is Kai’s first time on the Senior Men’s team and he’ll be joined by 9 other rookies, making this an exciting time for Australian hockey.

IHACT caught up with Kai before he flew out for the team training camp to find out more about playing hockey in the ACT and representing Australia.

This is your first time playing in the senior Men’s team, but how many times have you represented Australia in the junior teams?

Once in the U18 team, I made the junior team twice after this but I didn’t end up going.

Have you played overseas?

I did two stints in Finland when I was 16yrs and 18yrs for about 3 months each time.

What’s different between playing here and playing over there?

It’s another world really. I guess you can say we play the top level here for the Brave but then in Finland I was playing 4th division and I guess one of the poorer guys on the team. By the time I left I was getting good ice time on the second line, so I was one of the better guys on the team which good, but it’s still division 4, it’s a long way down from the top.

You’ve grown up in Canberra playing hockey, can you tell us about a fond memory you have as a junior player in Canberra.

Favourite coach would probably be… it’s tough one, I don’t want to upset anyone here with this one, but from memory my favourite coach would have been Sandy Logan. Fondest memory was winning silver in the NSW comp that was pretty cool.

When was that?

Can’t remember for sure, but it would have been my second last year in Midgets, so 5 years ago maybe. We got silver. We lost in the final, we weren’t quite good enough. That was probably one of my best memories growing up.

A lot of young players in Canberra look up to you as a role model, what advice do you have them about playing hockey and setting goals.

I was lucky because my dad had grown up playing hockey, so I always had someone to teach me but when I didn’t have him around to teach me a few things, I always watched hockey. Always on YouTube watching clips, like top 10 dekes, always top 10. I would watch it over and over again and just study the plays and that’s how I like to think I got decent hands.

I like to think I’m a visible learner and not everyone is like that. If I’m watching a game and I’m a centre man, I’ll watch the centre man all the time, watch where he is going. That’s my best advice, just watch and surround yourself with as much hockey as possible and you’ll get better no matter what.

The U18 team has just won gold in Sebria and for the first time have been promoted to Div II, Group A. Are you hoping to have similar success in Romania?

We wouldn’t be sending a team to do anything less than win a gold medal. That’s always the objective. This is my first time with the men’s team and I’m not too sure what to expect concerning the level and it’s a while since I’ve represented Australia at a high level. In my point of view I’m just going to go there and give it everything I have. That’s all I can really do. I think judging by the group of guys we have together I think we will be good and competitive, which is good, but we’ve just got to wait and see.

What is the best thing about hockey for you?

Geez just to put it down to one? I think one of the best things about it, is no matter what you’re going through outside of hockey, when you’re on the ice nothing else matters. You’re in the zone and it’s almost like therapy, you can just forget about everything else, and if there is anything bugging you just forget about all of it, and you just play hockey, have fun. There’s nothing I’d rather do than play a game of hockey. For me that’s probably the best part about it.

For more information on tournament results check out IIHF.

IHACT would like to wish Kai and the whole team the best of luck during Worlds!