Janne Niinimaa when he played with the Edmonton Oilers
Photo credit: YouTube

Former NHL Defenseman Facing Legal Trouble in his Home Country

Published January 10, 2024 at 9:16

A well-known former NHL defenceman is facing some legal issues in his home country of Finland. Janne Niinimaa, who played 741 regular season NHL games, as well as another 59 in the playoffs, has been charged with 'aggravated tax fraud.'

Prosecutors in Helsinki alleged in court that Niinimaa failed to pay his taxes in 2019, and they are accusing Niinimaa of intentionally failing to do so in order to avoid paying anything for that year. The court alleges Niinimaa owes 55,000 Euros, a little over $60,000 USD. It is recommending a five-year suspended prison sentence.

Niinimaa did not appear in court to address the charge yesterday, but his lawyer is denying he intended to evade paying taxes on his earnings in 2019. The case will return to court at a later date.

Niinimaa was drafted into the NHL by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1993 (36th overall). He played two seasons there before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers for what was likely his most notable stint in the NHL. He spent six seasons there and represented the team at the All-Star game in 2001. Following that, Niinimaa was traded to the New York Islanders in 2003, then the Dallas Stars, and then the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs were the last NHL team he played for before returning to Europe and playing pro hockey for another six years before retiring. Despite his accolades in the NHL and on the world stage, Niinimaa is probably best known for allowing Darren McCarty to deke him out of his pants and score the goal that would give the Detroit Red Wings the Stanley Cup in 1994 while sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers in the final.

January 10   |   369 answers
Former NHL Defenseman Facing Legal Trouble in his Home Country

Do you remember seeing Niinimaa play in the NHL?

Yes13336 %
No19753.4 %
Not sure3910.6 %
Latest 10 stories