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Pekka Rinne delivers heartwarming tribute to Texas with mask

Pekka Rinne delivers heartwarming tribute to Texas with mask

The Texas community is still in recovery mode nearly a month after devastating Hurricane-turned-tropical-storm-from-hell Harvey dumped over 50 inches of water across the entire Houston area, wiped out Port Aransas and Rockport, and submerged small towns all the way from Houston to the Louisiana border.

Texans have been remarkably resilient, raising hundreds of millions of dollars (literally – Houston Texans star J.J. Watt alone managed to raise over $37 million) for recovery efforts and banding together to save the dozens of cities that bore the wrath of the storm.

Other states have done their fair share to help out – most notably Louisiana, where the iconic ‘Cajun Navy’ sent a road convoy of ‘rednecks with boats’ to their neighbor state to rescue victims from flooded homes – and all the major professional sports have managed to get involved in relief efforts for both Harvey and subsequent Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria.

When it comes to the NHL, though, perhaps the most touching tribute will come from a foreigner living in Music City.

Pekka Rinne is a master of acrobatic saves and snake-like glove movements, but this year he’ll rock more than just an eye-catching style out on the ice. His newest mask will be a testament to the love and compassion he has for Texas; although he lives in Nashville, Tennessee, he’s reaching his heart out to another community in the south:

The mask is yet another masterful work of art from Dave Gunnarsson of DaveArt, who titled his latest creation “Preds Love TX”.

The Predators aren’t forgotten on the mask, which has Nashville-colored golden hearts on either side along with the Predators cat incorporated into the background. There’s also the three stars Tennessee flag symbol on both sides of the mask, although they – like the cat and Pekka’s number on the chin, which are all done in shades of white and blue – are clearly the background for the design.

Each side has a street art-inspired Texas Flag, fashioned in the shape of a heart to show support for Houston, Rockport, Corpus Christi, and the other towns still struggling to recover weeks after they were turned upside down and sunk beneath the rising waters.

Add in big, bright stars out at night decorating the background, and it’s the perfect tribute to the Lone Star State.

Perhaps the best part of the mask, of course, is that it was designed with a cause in mind. Per Gunnarsson, the mask will be worn on October 10th as the Predators face the Philadelphia Flyers, then will be autographed by Pekka following the game and auctioned off to raise funds for hurricane relief efforts.

Bidding will close on the day of the game, so fans who want a chance to take home something seriously beautiful with a wonderful cause only have a few weeks to throw their number in the hat. In order to make a bid, Gunnarsson wrote to “Text HOUSTON to 52182”.

For more of Gunnarsson’s incredible work, check out his Twitter, Instagram, or official website.

About The Author

Cat Silverman

Catherine is the first American in a long line of Canadians, making her the black sheep before she even decided she wasn't going to be a Leafs fan. Writer for Today's Slapshot, InGoal Magazine, and, coach in the Arizona Coyotes Department of Hockey Development. Goalies are not voodoo.

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