The Nashville Predators acquired Finnish ahead Mikael Granlund on the 2019 Commerce Deadline. A lot is thought about his on-ice talents: he’s an important playmaker who could make defensemen look foolish and barely takes penalties. What many don’t find out about him is that he’s an attention-grabbing particular person, and his story needs to be recognized by hockey followers all over the place. Listed here are seven intriguing issues about Granlund’s life, each on and off the ice.
1. Mikael’s Brother, Markus, Is Additionally in NHL
Mikael could be the higher recognized of the 2, however his youthful brother, Markus, additionally performs within the NHL. Just below 14 months separates the brothers, and the 2 have been drafted one yr aside – Mikael within the first spherical of the 2010 Draft and Markus within the second spherical in 2011. The Minnesota Wild took Mikael whereas the Calgary Flames drafted Markus. Markus spent components of three seasons with the Flames earlier than they traded him to the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 22, 2016. He performed with the Canucks by way of 2018-19 and was a restricted free agent at season’s finish. For his NHL profession he had performed in 301 regular-season video games with 55 objectives and 97 factors, together with 12 objectives and 22 factors in 2018-19.
Mikael’s brother, Markus, performs for the Vancouver Canucks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
2. Made Senior Debut on 17th Birthday
On Feb. 26, 2009, Mikael turned 17. He nonetheless had a yr earlier than the Wild known as his title on the draft. Most hockey gamers are in some type of a junior league at the moment – maybe the USHL or highschool in the USA, or the CHL or a Junior-A league in Canada. And for Granlund, most of his 2008-09 season was spent in the identical method, with Kärpät U20 of Finland’s Jr. A SM-Liiga, the nation’s high junior league.
Nonetheless, on his birthday, Kärpät promoted him to their senior workforce within the Liiga, the nation’s high males’s league. He instantly centered the workforce’s high line between veterans Vesa Viitakoski and Jonas Andersson. That’s a stage of belief and confidence not skilled by many 17-year-old hockey gamers. Granlund solely performed two video games within the Liiga that season, but it surely set him up for a productive draft season and the success that adopted.
Three. Sued Finnish Crew Over Contract Dispute
The most important cause for him solely taking part in two video games with Kärpät in 2008-09 was as a result of a contract dispute that occurred between Granlund and the workforce. It was began when he declared that the contract he signed was unlawful as a result of no compensation was outlined, particularly tools. It was additionally alleged that the workforce modified the date of his insurance coverage software with out his permission.
It led to Granlund and his agent suing the workforce, and within the meantime he signed a contract with HIFK, additionally of the Liiga, for the 2009-10 season. The scenario resulted within the workforce admitting that that they had made errors, however they have been made out of fine religion. Nonetheless, that did little to treatment the scenario, as Granlund performed the 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12 seasons with HIFK and by no means returned to Kärpät.
After suing Kärpät, Granlund joined HIFK. (Wikimedia Commons)
four. Scored Well-known ‘Lacrosse Purpose’ in 2011 World Championships
In 2011, a 19-year-old Granlund had the chance to symbolize Finland on the senior stage for the primary time in his profession, doing so on the 2011 World Championships in Slovakia. Within the semifinal sport towards Russia, he scored one of the crucial memorable objectives you’ll ever see. Deemed the ‘Lacrosse Purpose,’ he skated the puck behind Russia’s web off an offensive zone faceoff. As a substitute of going for a conventional wrap-around try, he lifted the puck on his backhand aspect of his stick and swatted it into the online, catching the Russian goaltender off-guard.
The play went to evaluate however in the end stood. It propelled Finland to a Three-Zero victory and a spot within the gold medal sport. They ultimately received that sport over Sweden 6-1 and captured a gold medal for simply the second time in event historical past. Granlund completed second on the workforce with 9 factors, but it surely was the ‘Lacrosse Purpose’ that may without end stand out.
5. A Track & Stamp in His Honor
Granlund’s purpose was so vital to the Finnish folks that he was honored in some fairly distinctive methods. One such means was with an audio recording known as “Taivas Varjele!,” which interprets to “Good Heavens” in English. It was that exclamation that Finnish hockey commentator Antero Mertaranta made in response to Granlund’s purpose. The recording took sections of the printed from that sport and remixed them right into a single. “Taivas Varjele” was so well-liked in Finland that it shot all the best way to quantity two on the Finnish Singles Chart and primary on the Finnish Obtain Chart, each in its first week.
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One other distinctive means his purpose was commemorated was with a nationwide stamp. Itella, the government-run nationwide mail service, designed the stamp to indicate the second the puck is getting into the online, beautiful the goaltender. The stamps have been obtainable for buy, and so they have been fairly a success, promoting out by mid-afternoon on the day of their launch. When you think about that in the USA commemorative stamps are sometimes reserved for iconic folks with profession achievements, Granlund’s purpose being worthy of a stamp conveys how vital it was to his fellow Finns.
6. Captain Finland
Mikael Granlund has represented Finland on quite a few events. (THW Archives)
The 2011 World Championships was not Granlund’s solely alternative to symbolize Finland on the event. He additionally participated on the 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2018 installments. In his most up-to-date time representing his nation (2018), he captained Finland. It was his second time doing so, having captained the nation’s U20 workforce on the 2012 World Junior Championships, but it surely was his first, and to date solely, time captaining the senior squad. Though it was Granlund’s first expertise as captain of the senior workforce, Finland’s nationwide coach Lauri Marjamaki shortly picked Granlund as his captain as soon as it was recognized he was obtainable:
“I can’t actually clarify it, however I used to be so positive of it,” he stated. “He reveals an instance day-after-day is essential to our workforce. I like his type and the way he performs. He’s behaved so good and he’s such captain. I’m positive he’ll succeed on this event.” Marjamaki on choosing Granlund as captain.
Individually, Granlund had an important event, with 9 factors in eight video games, however Finland struggled with solely a fifth-place end.
7. Traded to Nashville Whereas Fiance Was in Labor
As I discussed on the high, the Predators acquired Granlund on the 2019 Commerce Deadline, sending Kevin Fiala again the opposite means. That in and of itself isn’t a giant deal, gamers are traded on a regular basis. What made this commerce attention-grabbing is that on the time of the deadline Granlund and his fiance have been anticipating their first little one. In truth, when Wild common supervisor Paul Fenton agreed to the commerce on Feb. 25, Granlund’s fiance was in labor at hospital. When Fenton was capable of make contact with Granlund, the 2 talked about fatherhood for over 5 minutes earlier than the commerce was introduced up.
When the Predators acquired Granlund, his fiance was in labor with their first little one. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports activities)
Following the commerce, Granlund didn’t instantly be a part of the Predators, and didn’t play within the first sport after the deal. When he did be a part of the workforce, they have been on the highway, so neither he nor his household headed for Nashville for a while. Fortunately, the highway journey took him by way of Minnesota, and he was capable of spend time with them then. Following the highway journey, his household joined him in Nashville. It could not have been probably the most enjoyable time, however every part labored out in attention-grabbing trend. Much more unbelievable, Granlund’s fiance delivered their son on the 26th, sharing a birthday together with his father.
Extra Than a Reserved Participant
When on the ice, Granlund might seem like a reserved, typical Finnish hockey participant. Nonetheless, off the ice, he’s fairly attention-grabbing. Predators followers have been gifted with a number of gamers whose lives are extremely attention-grabbing. And one of many latest Predators simply occurs to be one of the crucial attention-grabbing. Hope you loved this transient perception into Granlund’s life. Keep tuned for extra in ‘Seven Issues’ collection.