The only thing Finland likes more than winning gold in hockey is putting those moments on a stamp.
Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Kasperi Kapanen will appear on a stamp in Finland for his overtime heroics in the gold medal game of the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championship.
“A sheet of stamps for the Young Lions – right now! Portrait stamps in honour of the World Junior Champions!” says the online store of the Finnish Post. “Out of the Young Lions who shined in their home tournament, are immortalized on the stamp: Miro Keskitalo, Kasperi Kapanen and Vili Saarijärvi.”
The now historic photo was taken by Russian photographer Elena Rusko. She says getting the photo wasn’t easy.
“To be honest it was hard to see anything on the ice because people were standing and photographers didn’t see a biggest part of the ice,” recalls Rusko. “I worked more with my intuition and reflexes. That was my ninth World Junior Hockey Championship in the row and the final emotions usually develop in the same scenario, so if you understand the hockey you know how things are going to be.”
“There are always two ways to shoot the final minutes of the game. You can shoot from above and run down on the ice straight after the final siren or you can go down on the ice level in advance and be one of the first who comes out on the ice and shoot there immediately after the end of the game. In both ways you can miss some great shots and this is always a hard decision for me if I work just by myself.
“The game went to overtime so I decided stay and shoot from above. When I saw this photo I was happy with it and I was really happy that I made a right decision to stay and shoot from above. Photographers and hockey players, both of us, sometimes need a little luck in the final.”
Kapanen isn’t the first Finnish hockey player to be featured on a stamp. Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund was featured back in 2011 following his lacrosse-style goal at the World Hockey Championship.
The new stamps featuring Kapanen are priced at 11€ for a sheet of 10.
Kapanen has five goals and five assists for 10 points in 18 games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies so far this season.