HELSINKI – Mikael Granlund’s lacrosse-style goal in Finland’s semi-final win against Russia – arguably the most memorable moment of the 2011 IIHF World Championship – was commemorated on a stamp.
It was the opening goal of the 3-0 victory in Bratislava when the 19-year-old forward lifted the puck on his stick behind the net to shovel it past a surprised Russian goalkeeper, Konstantin Barulin.
Granlund’s game-winner led Finland to the gold medal game, which it won against archrival Sweden, 6-1. It was Finland’s second world title after 1995 when the Finns defeated Sweden in the gold medal game on the opponent’s ice in Stockholm.
Itella Posti, Finland’s national mail company, depicted the goal on a stamp that went on sale on Friday. Fittingly, it’s a stamp for first-class mail worth €0.75 that can be bought online in sheets of 20 self-adhesive stamps.
It is only the second time in the company’s history it published a personalized stamp outside of the annual stamp publication program and Grandlund’s goal and the world title were reason enough.
To react as quickly as possible, the Finns took a press photo from the Czech agency CTK as the motif. The stamp designed by Klaus Welp also includes the text “MM-VM-2011”. MM and VM are the abbreviations of World Championship in Finnish and Swedish respectively, which is also an official language in Finland.
“Usually, the design and preparation of stamps takes 6 to 12 months, but we wanted to have this stamp available for sale to the public as soon as possible,” says Tommi Kantola, Product Manager at Itella Posti. “Therefore, we chose to produce a personalized stamp on the basis of the press photo as these stamps have a fast production process.”
The Finnish mail company already celebrated the heroes by introducing an own postal address. Fans can send greetings to a player by writing the player’s name followed by 02011 MAAILMANMESTARIT as the address. Maailmanmestarit is the Finnish word for World Champions.
Granlund’s goal is not the first one to be immortalized on a stamp. His predecessor is no one less than Peter Forsberg when he defeated Canadian netminder Corey Hirsch with a great move in the shootout of the 1994 Olympic gold medal game. Forsberg was only 20 years old when he led Sweden to the first ever Olympic gold in ice hockey.
More recently Russia commemorated the 2008 world champions on a stamp. It was Russia’s first gold medal in 15 years.