Finnish forward Niko Kapanen, a long-time veteran of the NHL, KHL and Leijonat, today announced his retirement from HPK of the Finnish Liiga at the age of 39.
Kapanen began his career with HPK in 1995, spending six seasons in the Liiga (his final being with TPS) before joining the Dallas Stars in 2001, spending four years in Dallas. Kapanen would be traded to Atlanta before being waived to Phoenix, leaving the NHL for Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL in 2008, winning consecutive Gagarin Cups in 2008 and 2009. Kapanen spent five seasons in Kazan, before leaving for Lev Praha in 2013, and joining Jokerit in 2014. After captaining Jokerit for two seasons, Kapanen completed his career lap back with HPK for his final season.
Kapanen joined the senior Leijonat at the 2000 World Championships in Russia, the first of a dozen Worlds Kapanen would play for Finland, collecting two silver medals (2001, 2007), two bronze medals (2000, 2008), and winning Gold in 2011, just Finland’s second ever title in history. Kapanen also picked up a silver at the 2006 Olympics and bronze at the 2010 Games, as well as a silver in the 2004 World Cup, racking up 26 goals in 105 total games for Finland.
Despite his many international medals, Kapanen held the IHLC just three times in his career, winning first during the 2001 World Championships, followed by the 2010 Olympics, and capped in the lead-up to his 2011 Worlds Gold Medal win. We wish Niko and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!