Robert Rooba looking to take a step forward after career year

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Robert Rooba. Source: Jiri Halttunen/JYP

Estonian ice hockey forward Robert Rooba finished the Finnish Liiga season with 30 goals for his Jyväskylä side and is now awaiting interest from outside of Finland.

Rooba scored his 30th goal in Jyväskylä's final regular season game against Kouvola on Wednesday. The Estonian was only bested on goals for the season by Swedish forward Sebastian Wannström with 33 goals.

"There is no wonder recipe, it's years of determined work," Rooba told ERR. "I have put in the necessary hours, now I can enjoy the results. There was nothing surprising in it for me, I have always known I have the skills and potential to be among the elite scorers of the Finnish league. I just needed to do the work to finally realize my potential."

Rooba's 2018-2019 season could be considered his best prior to the finished season as the Estonian scored 17 goals for JYP. The high-scoring season brought quite a bit of attention in Finland.

"I will be honest, I have been in Finland for quite some time now but have never received such attention before," Rooba noted. "It has been a very positive surprise. Unfortunately, an Estonian hockey player is still an exotic sight, but also that I am not some young NHL hopeful, who people would have expected this out of. Rather, I have been a year-to-year performer, have done my thing and I have now risen to the point I am at today."

Although Rooba was in spectacular form over the Liiga season, Jyvaskylä will likely try to forget the season as soon as possible. The team finished with just 13 regular-time victories out of 59 total games on their way to a last-place finish.

"A complicated year," the Estonian noted. "There were different economic issues due to the coronavirus, we had to give up some players and fill the team with young players. All this made the situation quite complicated. There was a lot of uncertainty and confusion and we tried to make the most of it. We were able to do something in the end, took a couple of great victories and got better ourselves. Just, in this high-level league, giving your opponent even a slight lead might mean you are not able to collect enough points and that is why we finished at the bottom of the table. It is perhaps a zero-point for the Jyvaskylä organization, they will build up again. It goes along with sports organizations."

Rooba has one more year on his JYP contract to play, but hitting 30 goals in Liiga likely means interest from elsewhere. "Hopefully! I will not argue, I feel there is certainly interest after these 30 goals. This is all so fresh currently, I have not had time to think about it much and my agent has not spoken to me about these things yet. It is a topic for the next months and then we will make decisions. I have a contract with JYP for the next season and unless anything happens, I am a JYP player. I have my own vision and goals and I will continue reaching for them and they are higher than the Finnish top-flight league," Rooba concluded.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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