July 24, 2017

Hockey Heroes: Tapio Levo

When the Colorado Rockies spent a lot of time and money to bring Tapio Levo to the NHL, many NHL scouts predicted he could be one of the very best European imports in league history. 

At 26 he was a veteran of European hockey. With his slick mobility and incredible puck skills, many felt that Levo would be as good as Finnish legend and Calgary Flames all star. Pekka Rautakallio. The Rockies even brought in Veli Pekka Ketola and Jukka Porvari to make him feel at home. 

On the ice Levo felt at home. He had an impressive 9 goals and 22 points in just 34 games in his rookie season. Unfortunately he suffered a broken arm early in the season, keeping him out of half of the season. 

The Rockies moved from Colorado to New Jersey the following year. And Levo moved with them. He managed to stay healthy in 1982-83 and scored 7 goals and 47 points in 73 games with the horrendous Devils team. 

Like many Finnish players of the early 1980s, Levo's stay in North America was short. Once his contract expired he bolted back to Europe and escaped the New Jersey swamp lands. He continued to play in his hometown with Assat Pori (winning the national championship in 1978) until the end of the decade.

Internationally Tapio skated for Finland in five world championships, the 1976 and 1981 Canada Cup and, as team captain, the 1980 Olympics.

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