NHL team renounces rights to Topi Ronni after draft pick sentenced in Finland for rape

NHL team renounces rights to Topi Ronni after draft pick sentenced in Finland for rape

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The Calgary Flames have renounced the rights to 2022 NHL Draft pick Topi Ronni after the Finnish hockey player was sentenced on Tuesday in his native country for a 2021 rape case. 

Ronni,19, was given a one-year suspended prison sentence by the District Court of Helsinki, his team in Finland, Tappara Tampere, said in a news release on Tuesday. 

Topi Ronni #132 poses for a headshot at the 2022 NHL Scouting Combine on June 2, 2022 at LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York.  (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The team, which plays in the top professional ice hockey league in Finland, announced that it had also terminated his contract. 

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“Almost three years have passed since the incident and this time has been extremely difficult for everyone involved,” Ronni said, according to a translation of a statement provided by the team. 

“The publicity surrounding the case has felt overwhelming and has touched not only myself but also my family and loved ones. Involuntarily, the matter has also been connected to the Tappara community, as well as the Calgary Flames, who booked me, and many others. I want to apologize for this to all those involved.” 

Topi Ronni scores a goal

#11 Topi Ronni of Finland scores a goal against #1 Goalkeeper Alessio Beglieri of Switzerland during Men’s 6-Team Tournament Preliminary Round – Group A Game between Finland and Switzerland of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics on January 20, 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland.  (RvS.Media/Basile Barbey/Getty Images)

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Shortly later, the Flames announced that the organization was renouncing their rights to Ronni, who was drafted 59th overall in the 2022 NHL Draft. 

“Effective immediately, the Calgary Flames renounce the rights to unsigned draft pick Topi Ronni,” the statement read. 

Topi Ronni controls the puck

#11 Topi Ronni of Finland tries to control the puck during Men’s 6-Team Tournament Preliminary Round – Group A Game between United States and Finland of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics on January 18, 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland.  (RvS.Media/Basile Barbey/Getty Images)

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Ronni was charged as a minor in October for the incident that occurred in 2021. Details of the allegations against Ronni were not known because the case documents were sealed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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