Antti Raanta is bringing a little bit of Finland with him to the Chicago Blackhawks, and not just in terms of his playing style. Raanta’s new mask also has deep Finnish roots.
InGoal readers will already be familiar with the first tie to Raanta’s home country: painter Joni ‘Bona’ Hallikainen, a fellow-Finn and former pro goaltender whose work for former teammate Kari Lehtonen debuted here with his new Dallas Stars’ home jerseys before adding a new road version of the mask last week.
Raanta, who was widely sought after as a free agent this summer, gave Hallikainen simple instructions for his first NHL mask.
“Antti wanted to have large Blackhawks logos on the sides and number 31 on the chin,” said Hallikainen, who worked smaller Blackhawks logos subtly onto the chin and layered headdress feathers into the top. “Otherwise I had free hands to create a bold and clean design that pays honor to Chicago’s long history.”
The second distinctively Finnish component is the mask itself. While some in North America may not recognize the name Wall, European goaltenders have long known and used masks from the company, which was founded in 1991 in Kihniö, Finland by Finnish mask pioneer Petri Karvinen, right up to the top pro level.
Raanta’s model is the Wall W10, the full carbon fibre flagship model for the company, which handcrafts all its masks and can be found online.