Canadian team's top pick sentenced to a year in prison
Ilta Sanomat  

Canadian team's top pick sentenced to a year in prison

Oh, wow!



This just in, Calgary Flames prospect Topi Rönni has been found guilty of rape and sexual assault in his native Finland.

The former 59th overall selection in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft was charged with the very serious crime in October for acts he perpetrated two years prior. The Flames were reportedly unaware of any allegations against Ronni when they selected him as their top choice in the 2022 Draft.

Now, Ronni will serve one year of 'conditional imprisonment' in his native Finland for the crime.

From Finnish publication Ilta Sanomat (translated from Finnish):

Topi Rönni , 19, a contracted player OF THE SM LEAGUE CLUB Tappara , has been sentenced to one year of conditional imprisonment for rape committed as a young person. The District Court of Helsinki gave its verdict on Tuesday.

The rape took place in Helsinki in the summer of 2021. Rönni was 17 years old at the time of the crime.

The judgment is not binding.

Tappara announced that he would comment on his player's rape conviction in a press release later.

RÖNNI is a familiar sight from Finland's junior national teams and the Calgary Flames' second-round NHL booking from summer 2022.

During his career, Rönni has represented Finland in both the under-18 and under-20 World Championships. Rönni has been sidelined from national team activities during his criminal trial.

In Tappara's shirt, Rönni has played a total of 64 SM league regular season matches.

This season, Rönni has played 22 league matches in Tappara. He played his last match at the beginning of February.

Read below for our earlier report on this story, published in the offseason.

Last month, Topi Rönni, the Calgary Flames' top selection (59th overall) from the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, left Tappara Tampere of the Finnish Liiga after allegations of rape and sexual assault.

From Tappara's official website (Translated from Finnish) back on October 19th when the allegations first came to light:

Tappara SM league team player Topi Rönni is suspected of rape. The suspected crime took place more than two years ago. Rönni has told the club itself about the suspected crime.

"Today, I have received a summons application related to the matter. The last two or so years have been hard waiting for the matter to progress. I trust that the related course of events will be clarified in connection with the trial. For the time being, I'm out of the team's activities and I'm focusing on handling the matter ," says Rönni.

The Helsinki District Court has not yet determined the hearing date of the case and the case documents have been ordered to be kept secret. Rönni was a minor when the suspected act took place.

"We take the suspected crime seriously, but we are waiting for the court hearing and will evaluate the player's position afterwards. This is also about labor law" , says Tamhockey Oy CEO Mika Aro .

Neither Tappara nor Rönni will comment further on the case at this stage.

Today, Rönni re-joined Tappara with the team stating that it would allow the legal process to play out before making any further statements.

From Tappara earlier today:

Tappara's player Topi Rönni will return to the team's activities on Monday 6.11.2023. According to normal practice, the head coach decides on Rönni's participation in the team's lineup in future games.

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about hockey culture. The players are well-known persons, and the accusations against them arouse a lot of interest.

- It is good to remember that in Finland the judiciary has the power to judge and the presumption of innocence is an essential part of both human rights and Finnish legal principles. We now let the judiciary do its work in peace, says Tamhockey Oy CEO Mika Aro .

The District Court of Helsinki is dealing with the indictment received by Rönni 12.3.2024.

- We expect from all our employees the kind of good behavior that is generally associated with sports and athletes. However, from the point of view of labor legislation, the situation is clear: suspicion of a crime is not a reason for terminating an employment relationship or moving an employee aside. We take the suspected crime seriously, but we are waiting for the court hearing and will assess the player's status only after that. The association is an employer and operates in accordance with labor legislation, Aro continues.

Neither Tappara nor Rönni will comment further on the matter at this stage.

The 19 year old forward has played 12 games for Tappara so far this season, putting up one goal and two points.

Source: Ilta Sanomat