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Women’s Maple League Mid-Season Update: Laukkanen Family Affair for First Place Saints

Juhannus is over and the Maple Leagues get back to business after a hopefully relaxing break. Let us take a look at the Women’s Maple League, which has reached the halfway-point. The Tampere Saints lead the league undefeated, followed by the Turku Trojans, Oulu Northern Lights, and Helsinki Wolverines, all with 2-2 records. The final place is held by the league’s newcomer, the Wasa Royals, who are still waiting to get their first win.


Photo Credit: Juuso Pehkonen

I had a chat with Maija and Miina Laukkanen, the mother-and-daughter-duo of the Saints. The daughter, Miina, is a known name already for everyone who follows the league, because of her domination on every possible position she plays. The mother, Maija, is a consistent player, as well. I asked how it feels to play together in the same team after a little break, this time on the Maple League level. “It’s really nice to play together again. When compared to when we started back in Lahti, we know the game better and even I have improved from those days, so it feels good. Also, the team spirit is great here,” Maija says. “Yes, when you have get used to playing better, a certain pressure is dropped off, and the game becomes more funMiina continues.


The Tampere Saints are undefeated, so one must ask how we’ve reached this point. “The mentality throughout the team is that we play it tough and keep going until the end. We take this seriously, but not too serious, keep confident but humble and make sure to keep the game fun,” Maija says, and Miina fills in: “The team spirit we have is so good, and everyone cheers on each other. There’s always a positive vibe at the practice.


Maija Laukkanen (28). Photo Credit: Juuso Pehkonen

The Saints return to the field after the midsummer break to face the Oulu Northern Lights, an opponent they defeated in week 1. The Northern Lights have since improved their game and have had some good performances, including a win over the reigning champ, the Turku Trojans. What will the Saints change as the second half of the regular season commences? “I don’t know if there’s any major changes in the play. It’s more about each own’s actions and performances. We need to get focus on the basics, to finish the tackles and get dumb little mental mistakes away now that everyone knows what their job on the field is,” Miina says. “We have had success in big situation and fancy plays, but the basic work is maybe a little lost in the fuss now. There are some dumb mistakes like what is right and left, and we need to get rid of those, and get the basic play functioning, or those big plays will fail eventually, too.” Maija says.

How will the Saints remain undefeated until the end of the season? “We must keep the chart rising and cannot be numbed by successMiina says, and Maija continues: “Yes, and we need to keep the tempo up throughout the game. We have had a few games, like the one against Turku, that we started great, but then we’ve started feeling maybe too comfortable. The end of those games then becomes just a mess. To keep the play consistent and hold the focus is the key at this point. We are a physical team and do have the tools to win.”


Miina Laukkanen dominates the fields, gets game MVP awards on national team level already, and the latest achievement is a spot in the flag football national team. How does it feel to be a mother behind these performances?

Photo Credit: Juuso Pehkonen

It’s amazing. To see her reach her dreams, having the talent and qualities it takes to succeed, it feels good. What else could you feel besides being proud of that?” - Maija Laukkanen

So, what’s the next goal Miina has in her mind? “When playing in those flag football championships, I want to do well, and have success in the Great Britain game (IFAF Europeans, game 17th August in the GB). Those are the next steps.”


Week 6 gives us the above-mentioned rematch between Oulu Northern Lights and Tampere Saints. The Northern Lights have won their last 2 games, so it’s clear that both teams will take the field hungry, and neither can take it too easy. The Northern Lights have had quite a narrow roster, but they signed 2 Spanish national team players ahead of their winning strike. It’s clear that Carla Blanca Lasheras and Laura Martinez Fiñaga have had some kind of mental effect on the team, and Lasheras has already one interception in her name, so it’s more than a mental effect we’re talking about.


The other game of week 6 takes place in Helsinki as the Wolverines host the Turku Trojans. Neither of those teams have yet had the success they would have liked to have this year, so to win this would be a big factor in the mentality towards the rest of the season. The Wasa Royals have their bye-week, and they will certainly do their best to optimize the 2-week break in the search for the first win.


We have had 5 great rounds of football, and the other 5 ahead before we get to the play-offs. I will have another report coming as the regular season ends, and later this week you’ll get the Men’s Maple League power rankings report. Until then, enjoy the AFF podcast and connect with us on IG. Best of luck to all players and teams!


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