Antti Raanta explains his masks

Supporting the NYPD, FDNY, and even the dog always there - all are important to him.

Antti Raanta is the latest contributor for the Players’ Tribune, and he’s got a good one this time.

Finland has conscription, so Raanta, a Finn, had to do six months of military service when he was younger. While he admits it’s a practice that wouldn’t work everywhere, he feels it works in Finland, and he gained a greater appreciation for the people whose jobs it is to protect others.

So when he came to New York, he knew what he had to do: show that same appreciation for the service people in his new home.

I posted a picture of the mask on Twitter hoping people would like it, and I immediately got a response from NYPD officers saying how much they liked it.

I also got a few responses from New York firefighters saying, “Hey, this is awesome, but what about us?”

I knew what I had to do next. I called up Dave.

“Dave, guess what? Rantanplan wants to be a firefighter, too.”

Naturally, both of Raanta’s masks got a positive reception.

In his piece, he also explains the presence of the dog, Rantanplan, a goofy prison guard dog from a Belgian cartoon series called Lucky Luke - and the cause of the nickname his goalie coach gave him when he was younger.

It’s a very sweet merging of both Raanta’s past and present, and knowing the meaning and emotion put into them, his masks are even more awesome.