Finnish Maple League kicks off

Finnish Maple League kicks off

the Maple League kicks off its 2022 season with seven teams vying for the title that the Kuopio Steelers have won for the past two seasons.

Perennial title contenders, the Helsinki Roosters head the list of challengers followed by the Porvoon Butchers, Seinäjoki Crocodiles, Helsinki Wolverines, United Newland Crusaders and the newcomers to the Maple Leaguethe Kotka Eagles.

Kuopio Steelers – (2021: 9-1 – Finnish Champions)

Head Coach: Pekka Utriainen

Quarterback (returning): Joey Bradley (University of New Haven, NCAA Div II),

Key roster additions: LB Cody Leonard (Quincy University, NCAA Div II), DB Iiro Pekkarinen, DB/WR Tino Ndongo

Key returning players: RB Le’Anthony Reasnover (Eureka, NCAA Div III), DL Ikeem Allen, OL Elmeri Saastamoinen

Helsinki Roosters – (2021: 7-3 – Finished 2nd)

Head Coach: Juha Hakala

Quarterback (new): Bryce Stancombe (University of Indianapolis, NCAA Div II)

Key roster additions: DL Kaleb Wezdenko (Grand View University, NAIA), WR Aymeric Nicault, (French national team), OL Niilo Ojansivu, (Finnish national team player).

Key returning players: OT Samuli Vehkomaki, WR Johannes Jauhiain, DT Christer Berg

Porvoon Butchers – (2021: 5-4 – Finished 3rd)

Head coach: Richard Bachand

Quarterback (returning): Brandon Gwinner (Morrisville State, NCAA DIII)

Key roster additions: RB Dante Edwards (Leeds Beckett University, Benedictine College, NAIA), Dana Plantt, OL Asovaara twins

Key returning players: Timi Nuikka, Jussi Mäkelä, and Väinö Pääkkönen

Seinäjoki Crocodiles – (2021 record: 4-5 – Finished 4th)

Head Coach: Andy Bezaire

Quarterback (new): Zachary Whitehead (King’s College, NCAA Div III)

Key roster additions: Akseli Syrjanen DB Jyvaskyla Jaguaarit, WR Anttoni Lampivuo, Aleksi Hirvonen RB Jyvaskyla Jaguaarit

Key returning players: DL Filip Zacok, LB Juhani Koivumaki, DB Heikki Toivola

Helsinki Wolverines – (2021 record: 3-5, Finished 5th)

Head coach: Michael Mattingly

Quarterback (new/returning): Jabari Harris

Key roster additions: Martin Emos, WR RJ Long, DL Ville Valasti

Key returning players: Curtis Slater, Eric Irvin, Jonathan El Ouacef

United Newland Crusaders – (2021 record: 2-6 Finished 6th)

Head coach: Tuomas Heikkinen

Quarterbacks: Shay Netter (Ohio University, Eastern Kentucky, NCAA Div. I)

Key roster additions: WR Miles Corpening, Mikko Rajala, Matias Castagno

Key returning players: WR Nolan Corpening, Cedric Johnson, Teemu Rehmonen

Kotka Eagles – (2021 record: DNP. Won promotion from Div. 1)

Head coach: Charlie Ovey

Quarterbacks: Chris Forcier (Furman University, NCAA Div. I)

Key roster additions: WR Peter Anderson, (Colorado Mesa College, NCAA Div II), DL Jamarcus Henderson (Newberry College, NCAA Div II), OL Eemil Raudas, Joonas Santala, Marnol Raudver.

Key returning players: Niko Hannula, Roy Kamppi, and Waltteri Puustinen

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