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A Finnterview with Aapeli Räsänen and Jesper and Julius Mattila of Boston College Men’s Hockey

Talking Finland with the Finns

2002 Winter Olympics Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

As you all probably know by now, today is the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence - Finland separated from Russia in 1917 following the Russian Revolution. BCI has been celebrating Finland's Independence Day on our site today in honor of BC men’s hockey players Julius and Jesper Mattila and Aapeli Räsänen. We’ve taught you Finnish, ranked Finnish songs, and helped you pick a favorite Finnish hockey team. Also, Grant wrote...something that maybe makes sense? We’re ending the day with the most important content of all - insight on Finland from Räsänen and the Mattilas.

The Mattilas and Räsänen all hail from Tampere, the second largest city in Finland and site of the first Finnish hockey game. When at home for Independence Day, they told BCI that they usually watch the fireworks before heading indoors to view the President’s Independence Day Gala on TV. The BC Finns described the Independence Day Gala as “a big party in [the President’s] place that some 2,000 people attend.” The attendees include “war veterans, former presidents, and famous athletes.” Other commons Independence Day activities that Räsänen and the Mattilas might participate in at home include “going to the cemetery to salute war veterans and raising the Finnish flag on the flag pole.”

Since they are far from home for the 100th anniversary of Finnish Independence, the BC Finns will spend this evening with fellow Hockey East Finns Kasper Kotkansalo (BU) and Kasper Björkqvist (Providence). They told BCI that they plan to dress up in nice Finnish clothes and go to dinner. And after that? “Maybe some sauna!”

When asked which of their Boston College teammates is the best honorary Finn, Räsänen and the Mattilas chose captain Chris Brown as “he’s been doing a pretty good job with studying the Finnish language and has put in some effort!” Before heading off, the 3 of them taught us the most important phrase for BC hockey fans to know in Finnish - “kansallinen mestaruus” - which means “national championship.” Hopefully we will have cause to use that phrase a few times before the three of them graduate!

Congratulations to Finland on 100 years of independence and thanks to Aapeli, Jesper, and Julius for answering our questions!