Joonas Donskoi arrived to his hometown Raahe on his summer holiday with his wife Devin and son Declan. Raahe is a small town in Northern Finland with 25 000 people. Before professional hockey Joonas was an active skateboarder and three years ago he made a $ 2,600 donation to save Pulju indoor skate park which was facing financial difficulties.
The donation sparked a lot of interest in skateboarding circles and Joonas Donskoi was awarded by skateboarding media Thrasher Magazine for his action. Local skateboarders in Raahe promised to remember Joonas by raising his hockey jersey to the skate hall’s rafters as soon as possible.
On Friday, July 22nd 2022, three years after the donation, Joonas arrived to the skate park with his wife and child and he was greeted by a big crowd of people from his hometown Raahe. Joonas’s father and other family members were also present. The founders of the skate hall, Valtteri Karjula and Henri Ylikulju, had organized a free-for-all event, during which Joonas’s Seattle Kraken jersey would be raised to the hall rafters. The event was open for everyone with free food and beverage for all attendees. Joonas would also be signing autographs and posing in pictures as part of the event.
The event started with Valtteri Karjula
thanking Joonas and remembering old times
when they used to skateboard together.
”Joonas came to our ramp and skated with us. I have a lot of old skateboarding videos of him at home. Now after three years of planning we were able to organize an event like this and it’s great to see so many people here. This is fantastic!”
After Valtteri’s speech Henri Ylikulju remembered Joonas’s donation and told the story of the local indoor skate park.
”This skate park has existed for ten years and after Joonas’s donation we haven’t had financial troubles. The donation by Joonas was really significant.”
Finally, Joonas Donskoi himself told about his own skateboarding days.
”When we were kids we used to dream about having an indoor skate park in Raahe. Of course I wanted to help the skateboarding community and this place is important to all the young kids. Now i was able to visit it personally. I want to share all the good i have received forward and help my hometown.”
After the speeches the skateboarders awarded Joonas a painting made by local artist Pertti Vuori to take to his home in Seattle. Finally, Joonas Donskoi ’s jersey was raised to the rafters of the skate park. The jersey will remain in the rafters as a thank you to Joonas and as a memory for everyone to admire.
After the official ceremony the local young kids were able to get a picture and an autograph with their idol. Also they had the chance to skate in the hall after the event finished. The autograph queue was long but Joonas took the time to sign an autograph for everyone.
Photos: Jasmin Paloniemi
Text: Valtteri Karjula
Translate: Jani Maarala
Videos: Janne Ylikulju & Jani Maarala