ROCKFORD, Ill. – The American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs today announced that goaltender Kevin Lankinen has been nominated for the Finnish Sports Gala’s (Urheilugaala) Role Model of the Year Award. The winner will be announced at the 2020 Urheilugaala at Hartwell Arena in Helsinki, Finland on Jan. 16, 2020.
Each year, the Finnish Sports Gala celebrates the highlights of the past year in Finnish sport. The awards, or “Uno” trophies, are presented to the “best and most inspiring” in Finland's sport scene. IceHogs netminder Lankinen has been nominated for Role Model of the Year alongside Tinja-Riikka Korpela, the goalkeeper for the Finnish soccer team and Amanda Kotaja, a Paralympic athlete for Finland.
According to the Urheilugaala’s nomination announcement, Lankinen, who helped lead Finland to a Gold Medal at the 2019 IIHF World Championship this summer, was selected as a finalist for his efforts to promote literacy to the youth of Finland. Lankinen launched his own book discussion club which reaches an audience of nearly 14,000 subscribers on the group’s facebook page: facebook.com/Lankisenlukupiiri. Through the reading group, he organizes various book-club meetups, promotes literacy to an international audience and discusses interesting reads with his fanbase.
Lankinen also recently served as a prominent participant in the UN International Reading Literacy Day campaign.