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Finnish Vet Suoraniemi and Rookie Defenseman Turcotte Signed

August 17, 2010 - ECHL (ECHL) - Bakersfield Condors News Release

BAKERSFIELD Calif- The Bakersfield Condors, host of the 2010-11 ECHL All-Star Classic, today signed veteran LW Mika Suoraniemi (ME-kah SOO-or-nee-EM-ee) and rookie D Yan Turcotte (TER-cot). The announcement was made by Head Coach Marty Raymond.

Suoraniemi, 30, is a veteran of 11 professional seasons, all in the European ranks and primarily in his homeland of Finland. The 6-1, 180-pound left wing played last season with the Stavanger Oilers in Norway, recording 36 points (17g-19a) in 45 games and claiming the Norwegian Championship. He played three seasons in the Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga), from 2001-04 with the legendary TPS, a team that has won 11 SM-liiga titles and has churned out NHL stars such as the Koivu brothers (Saku and Mikko), Jere Lehtinin, Miikka Kiprusoff, and others. By ECHL rules, only games played by Suoraniemi in the SM-liiga count in his career totals for veteran status, leaving him shy of qualifying as an actual "veteran" by ECHL standards.

The Turku native was named to the French League All-Star Team in 2006-07, while his teams have reached the championship game or final series six times in his pro and junior career. Suoraniemi comes from a hockey family, with his father, uncle and cousin all having professional careers in Europe or North America. His father Seppo played and coached in the SM-liiga and also skated in the Olympics for Finland. His cousin played college hockey at Bemidji State, where he was a teammate of former Condor Matt Pope.

What Marty says:

"Mika is an impact player that will bring leadership and attitude to our club. He has played in the Elite in Finland and brings good experience to our young team. He's eager to come to Bakersfield to help our team go as far as we can go."

Turcotte, 26, will make his pro debut this season for Bakersfield, after wrapping up a five-year college career at McGill University, where he played alongside former Condors D Ken Morin. He served as a team captain last season, helping lead McGill to a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championship. In 2009-10 he led the team with 120 penalty minutes, adding to his McGill career record total, and also led all McGill defensemen with nine goals and was second with 25 points in 27 games.

What Marty says:

"Yan is a big, mobile defenseman that brings leadership, being the captain of McGill University. He plays with an edge, plays tough and has some upside offensively."

The Condors now have seven players under contract for 2010-11: goaltender Peter Hirsch, defensemen Erik Burgdoerfer, Jay Cascalenda and Turcotte, and forwards Adam Chorneyko, Adam Naglich and Suoraniemi.

Open House set for Oct. 2

Mark it in your calendars - Saturday, Oct. 2 is the date for the 2010 Condors Open House & Family Day. The annual event will take place from Noon - 3 p.m. at the Bakersfield Ice Sports Center, and is your first chance to see the 2010-11 Condors squad in action. Plus, all season ticket holders may pick up their ticket packages and fans can meet the team.


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