Mikko Koskinen honors Finnish legend with World Cup mask
Few players set to appear at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey will do so from outside the NHL – but goaltender Mikko Koskinen, coming off a year with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL, is going to be playing for Team Finland in hopes of finding success on the international stage.
Now, he’s got a fancy new mask to bring with him to North America in September, as well:
The design, titled “Lion’s Supremacy” by well-known Swedish mask artist Dave Gunnarsson, pays homage to the Finnish coat of arms (which features a prominent roaring lion) and the nation’s flag on the top and the sides. The flag ribbons its way from the sides down to the chin, while the lion guards the top.
On the side, though, the goaltender paid homage to Timo Jutila at his own request – honoring one of Finland’s longest-standing national captains with a sketched tribute. Per Gunnarsson:
“Mikko wanted to pay tribute to the legendary Finnish player Timo Jutila, an awesome idea of Mikko. I sketched it on the side with a sketch pen.”
Although the 52-year-old Jutila only played in one season of North American hockey (split between the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and the AHL’s Rochester Americans in 1984-85), he stood as captain for the Finnish national team for the final five years of his international career.
While playing for Team Finland, the defenseman – who is in the IIHF Hall of Fame – took home an Olympic Bronze, two World Championship Silvers, a World Championship Gold, and both a Silver and Bronze in the World Junior Championships. Although he never got a chance to play at the World Cup of Hockey, he did play in one of the final Canada Cups (the predecessor to the World Cup), back in 1991.
Here’s a closer look, via Gunnarsson, of the tribute to Jutila:
As with the other masks that Gunnarsson has designed for the World Cup thus far – including a mask for Team North America’s Matt Murray – the official tournament logo is sketched on each side of the mask in a non-obtrusive location.