On Saturday, Finland won its fifth gold medal at the World Juniors, and its first since the 2016 tournament actually held in Finland, with a win against the United States. The game-winning goal from top NHL draft prospect Kaapo Kakko in the final minutes sealed the deal.
The gold medal is its own reward, of course, but it was probably made all the more special for the young Finnish players when NHL legend and Finland native Teemu Selanne chimed in with his own congratulations for the team.
The Finnish Flash, who has been credited for the growth of hockey in Finland due to his own success and popularity, also retweeted a few other tweets from other users. It’s clear that this guy is enthusiastic about the hockey pipeline in his country.
With five gold medals in the World Juniors now, Finland moves ahead of the United States for all-time gold medals, although for now they’re still a distant third to the historical powerhouses, Canada (17) and Russia (13). As noted in the tweet by The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler, however, no country is rising faster than the Finns.
With Russia in a gold medal drought dating back to 2011 and Canada sorted into a stacked “Group of Death” for next year’s World Juniors at the Czech Republic, we’ll see if Finland will be able to repeat. It sure looks like they have the talent.