Finland is a peaceful country. It has troops in Afghanistan contributing to the fight against the Taliban, but otherwise hasn’t been involved in a major conflict since World War II. The country is not affiliated with any other “alliance” militarily with other countries. So, the country relies on its own young men to be ready to fight in any potential conflict.
Therefore, there is are very strict conscription laws in Finland. Every physically-able male born in Finland must serve at least six months in the military, or 13 months in the civil service, before they turn 29. There are absolutely no exceptions, and those who don’t fulfill the requirement are imprisoned.
Mikko Rantanen is 23 – 24 in October. He has yet to fulfill any of his conscription duties, and when I asked him about it on Thursday morning, he said he will start doing so this summer. He said he will do the six-month military hitch, which means he will train with guns in the Finnish countryside, living in barracks with other normal young Finnish males (females are exempt from any conscription duty).
Rantanen can do his time in stages. He can do, say, a couple months this summer, maybe a couple more next summer and a couple more after that.
“If we go to the (Cup) Finals, there is less time in the summer, and training camp is September. So, we’ll see what kind of time I’ll do this summer,” Rantanen told Colorado Hockey Now.
Here is a good story with more detail on what young Finnish hockey players face when it comes to the mandatory service.
Avalanche winger Joonas Donskoi, a Finn, has already completed his mandatory duty.