Kari Jalonen was a lanky 6'3" centre who used his reach to became an effective passer and faceoff man. He played briefly with the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers in the early 1980s but was best known as a fine player on the Finnish national team and in its elite division.
Born in Oulu, Finland, Jalonen spent eight years playing for the Karpat club in his hometown. After scoring 26 points in 36 games, he was named the Finnish rookie-of-the-year in 1979. He was a key member of the country's World Junior Championship entries in 1979 and 1980, winning the silver medal in the latter.
Jalonen represented Finland at the World Championships six times between 1981 and 1989 and was a member of the 1991 Canada Cup team. In 1986 he helped the team win the bronze medal at the world tourney.
He signed as a free agent with the Calgary Flames in January 1982 and debuted with the team the following season. Jalonen scored nine goals in 25 games that year but was homesick and played only briefly with the Flames and Oilers after that. Rejuvenated, he excelled with Karpat Oulu and led the Finnish league in points once (1987) and assists on two occasions (1987, 1989). He was also selected as a first-team all-star in 1987 and 1989.
Jalonen later played with the TPS Turku club and helped them win four championships in five seasons between 1989 and 1993. He also played for Skelleftea, Jurkarat Lukko Rauma before retiring in 1995.