Rangers prospect Lauri Pajuniemi started his mandatory military service this off-season, a lot of you may have already asked, “What about Kakko?” We have learned that a recent change in regulations exempts Kaapo Kakko due to his diabetes.
How Finnish military service works
Pajuniemi started his military training 2 months ago at the Santahamina barracks, situated on an island off the coast of Helsinki. Last month, he had a short break and traveled back to Turku where he continued to train and get in shape for the new season. “It is good to be in the army now, so you can focus on the essentials again in the autumn”, said Pajuniemi. The food isn’t great, he said but it could be worse.
Military service in Finland is a minimum of 6 months but can be split up into smaller portions. A lot of NHL players have done so in the past, including Erik Haula, Sebastian Aho, Antti Raanta, Mikko Koivu and Sasha Barkov. They have until the age of 28 years to start their military service.
Kaapo Kakko exempt from military service
I was recently made aware of a change in regulation last February that creates an exception for type-1 diabetics. The Finnish Diabetes Union (diabetes.fi) states in an article from March 20th 2019 that a decision was made by the military that diabetics cause too much risk in serving. This caused outrage amongst Finnish diabetics and their families that want to serve.
According to a more detailed report by Finnish news outlet Iltalehti, there is also no possibility for an exception. This means that as a type-1 diabetic, Kaapo Kakko cannot volunteer like Nico Hischier did this summer in Switzerland.