SOCHI, Russia -- The team that bikes together, wins together, apparently.
Players on Finland's men's hockey team rode bicycles from their accommodations to their tournament-opening game against Austria on Thursday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, a trip of about seven minutes that took them through the Olympic Park and down memory lane.
"It was different, you know?" Finland and Winnipeg Jets forward Olli Jokinen said, smiling. "I was asking a lot of the guys, 'When was the last time you took a bicycle to a game?' My last game was probably 15 when I was playing back in my hometown."
Jokinen, who grew up in the town of Kuopio, said he rode the bike as a kid out of necessity.
"My parents didn't have a car, so I would ride a bicycle every time," he said. "Obviously, when it was minus-20 or minus-25, you took the bus. ... It's been 20 years, so it was kind of nice, actually."
Riding the bike to the arena in Sochi, he said, is "probably the fastest way to come here."
Defenseman Sami Lepisto said he doesn't recall riding his bike to the arena as a child but he enjoyed doing it Thursday.
"Team Finland got us these pretty amazing blue bikes and we cruise around," he said. "It helps to travel between the cafeteria and the villages."