Olli Maatta, the Penguins’ 21-year old Finnish defenseman is scheduled to serve his obligated six-month tour of duty in the Finnish army beginning this April. Juha Hiitela of urheilusanomat.fi reported the news via Twitter earlier today.
#Penguins Olli Määttä is scheduled to begin his service in Finnish army on April 18. Will postpone it few weeks if/when Pens are in playoffs
— Juha Hiitelä (@jhiitela) March 15, 2016
Every male capable of serving in the country’s military is required to do so and professional athletes such as Maatta are no exception. In fact, fellow countryman and former teammate Jussi Jokinen served his six months in the early 2000’s. Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette discussed Maatta’s obligation to do so in November 2013 but there was not a set date at that point.
Maatta told Rorabaugh the following during that first report…
I’m pretty sure I can figure out something. I could do it in like two summers. That might be possible. I’ll see how it goes. They’re really good at making arrangements. If you play abroad, it’s not like you have to stay there for six months and miss the season.
The Penguins are in the midst of a postseason battle and currently sit in the first Eastern Conference wild card spot. However, the playoffs aren’t guaranteed at this point, as the Philadelphia Flyers are a mere four points back and streaking as of late. The good news for the Penguins though, is that if they do indeed lock up a postseason bid, it seems that Maatta can adjust his service in the military accordingly.
Maatta has six goals and 18 total points through 62 games this season while playing primarily on the Penguins’ top pairing with Kris Letang.
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Pittsburgh Penguins writer for TheHockeyWriters.Com and PittsburghHockeyNow.Com. Youth hockey coach, and student of the game.