Kari Lehtonen’s Finnish Olympic Team Mask
From goaltender’s concept sketches to artist’s realization of the vision
The rush of new Olympic masks is a great time for goaltending fans and in addition to all kinds of incredible artwork, it also produces a few interesting stories, from Ryan Miller’s being told to make changes to his design in 2010 to Jesse Vetter having to remove “We the People” from her 2014 mask. This one may be without controversy as artist Joni ‘Bona’ Hallikainen was careful to confirm his design before committing to paint; however, there is a slight twist to this unveiling of Kari Lehtonen’s 2014 Team Finland mask here at InGoal.
We have the original sketches that Lehtonen himself penned for his former junior teammate and now personal painter. It’s interesting to see a bit of a peek into the process of Bona and ‘Lehts’ working together on a new design but it is even more impressive to see what a talented artist can do with a very simple concept. Bona, himself a former pro goaltender in Finland, has taken Lehtonen’s very basic drawings and brought them to life, turning them into amazing works of art.
Bona, in an email to InGoal told us about Lehtonen’s wishes for the mask:
“Kari wanted to have a clean and crisp Suomi mask with the Finnish coat of arms and SUOMI on both sides. He also wanted to have some snow flakes incorporated into the design so I came up with this snow flake pattern. The idea was to celebrate the winter Olympic atmosphere. The mask has a navy blue base with baby blue and white stripes to match the Finnish uniforms and his olympic gear from CCM.”