Dear Max,

Tonight you’ll play against my home country of Finland at the WHC in St. Petersburg. Despite this, your a true role-model for me and, more importantly, my 5 year old son, who has type-1 Diabetes.

Last week, when there was a player presentation of you on Finnish TV (diabetes was NOT mentioned), we told our son Jalmari about you and how you manage to play despite your diagnosis. This really had an (inspirational) impact on him. He clearly felt a connection that he has not before. He’s really social and loves to do sports (hockey in particular), but in his daily life he has no-one else around him who lives with the same condition. Since hearing about you, every time we watch a game, he keeps asking who has got diabetes.

Tonight, I’ll be proud to point you out from the Canadians. Thanks for being an inspiration to everyone living with diabetes – by simply showing that the condition is not an obstacle to achieving your dreams. I’d have never ever imagined how much such a thing could mean to me (and I am sure also to countless others who know how challenging diabetes can be).

If someone on the Canadian team manages great feats against the Finns tonight – I hope it will be you. Would mean the world to my son – although I suspect losing to Canada would nevertheless be a HUGE disappointment to him.
All the best
Jani Leino
ps. Congrats on an amazing rookie year and hope you have a great career in the NHL.