Jyrki Lumme was an offensive defenceman who was tough enough to take the hits without retaliating to protect the puck and carry it into the attack, his forte.
Lumme hails from Tampere in Finland and the nation's dominant club, Ilves, which has more championship titles than any other club in the country. When Lumme joined the Montreal Canadiens in 1988, it was a historical move in several ways, for he was the first-ever Finn to don the legendary jersey.
The measure of players in Finland is when they come to the attention of junior national team selectors at the age of 15 to be part of the under 16 team the following season. And then, if they have they right attitude, the necessary skills and perseverance, they go through the intermediate teams up to the under 20 team and the World Junior Championships. Lumme gradually made the grade and following the 1986 World Junior Championships in Hamilton, Ontario, he was the only player on the Finnish team to become a full-fledged professional in the NHL.
While playing for Finland internationally, Lumme captured the nation's first ever hockey medal, the 1988 Olympic silver at Calgary. His best memories with the national team came 10 years later at the 1998 Olympics at Nagano as he and his team claimed the bronze medal. At St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2000, he again won a bronze medal. That was his third but only medal from five World Championship tournaments. He also has appearances in a Canada Cup and a World Cup on his merit list.
Amid his impressive international resume, Lumme has had much success in the NHL. After parts of two seasons in Montreal, he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks, with whom he spent nine seasons and part of the team which made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994 against the eventual Cup champions the New York Rangers. After three seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes, Lumme joined the Dallas Stars in 2001-02, however, he played only 15 games in the Lone Star state before he was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs.