Jyväskylä Human Technology City

Still goal-minding - but Children come first

 After playing ice hockey in four countries, Sinuhe Wallinheimo has come home. The itinerant goalie wanted to give his family day-to-day stability and peace.

In the middle of the shiny playing surface of Jyväskylä's ice hall stands a man who has been around a bit. Goal-minder Sinuhe Wallinheimo, who left his home town ten years ago, managed to catch the puck for a living in the United States, Germany and Sweden before his return to domestic league ice and JYP, the club that fostered him.

He spent a total of five years in the USA, three of which with the University of Denver. That was followed by three seasons in Germany and two more to finish on the books of elite Swedish ice hockey team Färjestad.

During his final season abroad Wallinheimo lived on his own in Sweden since his wife and children had already moved to Jyväskylä. "That was a tough time. My family brought me to Jyväskylä, back home."

The older of his kids, a five year old boy, was approaching school age and it was time for the ice hockey family to make decisons. From the children's point of view Jyväskylä felt like the best alternative. "I shun the idea of putting the kids into a school-like environment already at the age of five. Children must be allowed to be kids for a longer time", Wallinheimo explains. "For a faily with small children Jyväskylä is an excellent place. Day care is well organised and there are plenty of activities for kids."

From an ice hockey point of view the Finnish Championship league and the young JYP team provided the right degree of challenge.

Biking it around the city

Wallinheimo, who has lived in numerous places including Denver and Germany's Ruhr, admires Jyväskylä's compactness. All locations in the city are close to each other and getting from place to place can be accomplished on a bike, for instance. "In the States and Germany the distances are just huge. Sitting in a traffic jam with the kids is a sure source of impatience."

After ten years on the road his home town looks attractive - a pleasant mixture of old and new. On the other hand if Wallinheimo could decide and plenty of money was available he would provide Jyväskylä with a few more bigcity features. In the opinion of the seasoned professional there is still unused potential in the beautiful unspoilt harbour area, for example. "An indoor fun park could prove a success here, too."

Day-to-day stability for the kids

The move to Jyväskylä gave the family stability. Especially since 32 year old Wallinheimo has plans to settle permanently in his native city when his playing career comes to an end. A newly built house awaits its first occupants in a quiet residential area, close to the lake shore and services.

"The kids like it when home is in one place. My wife is probably happy, too, that her husband is home a bit more", says the father of two with a smile.

He becomes serious for a moment and explains that in the older of his children there were already signs of restlessness due to the constant changes of scenery.

Peace and stability are also created by a human working environment. Although the Finnish Championship league is all about top professionals in ice hockey, it is not pure business, however.

"In the Nordic countries the sport has a more human face than in the USA, for instance. The club looks after everything well, and I can lead a perfectly normal family life", the idol of many a hockey fan is keen to point out. From his long stint on the road he brought home an American college degree, a knowledge of languages and many everyday experiences. These Wallinheimo is planning on refining in one way or another for the demands of working life in the Jyväskylä region when the veteran goal-minder finally hangs up his pads.

Photo 2 (below): Julius, Sinuhe and Joanna Wallinheimo.

By Tommi Salo Photos by Petteri Kivimäki