Goaltender Tuukka Rask, along with the rest of the Boston Bruins, is getting ready to take on the St. Louis Blues in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. The series starts Monday, May 27, at 8 p.m. at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Rask was born in 1987 to parents Jari and Irja in Savonlinna, Finland. The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Rask in the first round, 21st-overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He remained in Finland until 2007, when he left in favor of North America. Rask was then traded to Boston, ultimately assigned to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins.
Here’s what you need to know:
He Played Junior Hockey for his Hometown Club & In the Finnish Elite League
Rask played hockey for the local Savonlinna club, SaPKo (a portmanteau of Savonlinnan Pallokerho) in his youth. He also played for Ilves Jr. before moving on to Ilves Tampere (the Tampere Lynx) in SM-liiga, the top-level professional hockey league in Finland. Rask played three seasons for Ilves; according to hockeyDB.com, this is the team he was on when the Maple Leafs drafted him in 2007.
In 2017, Rask became a partial owner of Ilves Tampere. According to Finnish outlet Ilta-Sanomat, reporting at the time, then-owner Vincent Manngard waived all ownership rights to the team, which was being bought by an ownership group that counted Rask as a member.
“I wanted to join in helping my old [team],” Rask told the outlet.
Ilves boasts several other NHL players among its alumni, including Maxime Talbot, Vesa Toskala, Patrik Štefan, Hannu Toivonen
He Has a Younger Brother Named Joonas
Tukkaa Rask isn’t the only member of his family to make it to the NHL; his brother Joonas, three years his junior, also played a brief stint. According to hockeyDB.com, Joonas followed a similar path in hockey, playing multiple years for Ilves Tampere in SM-liiga, including remaining in Finland for two more years after being drafted 178th overall in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators.
Joonas Rask did not enjoy the same measure of success at the NHL level as his brother. After completing the 2012-13 season in Finland, he came to Nashville and played two games in the remainder of the Predators’ season, in addition to playing a game for the team’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. He played 58 games with the Admirals in the 2013-14 season and chose to return to Finland, where he plays for HIFK Helsinki in SM-liiga.