Finnish centre Petri Kontiola, a mainstay in the Leijonat system for two decades, today confirmed his retirement from hockey at the age of 38, following Ilves’ bronze medal victory over HIFK in the Liiga playoffs.
Starting in Tappara’s junior system, Kontiola debuted for the senior club in 2004, spending four seasons in Tampere before venturing to North America. A seventh round Chicago draft pick, Kontiola spent two seasons between the Blackhawks and their farm system before returning to Europe in 2009, joining the KHL. Kontiola would spend the next eleven seasons in the KHL, spending a decade in Russia between Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk and Yaroslavl, returning to Finland to join Jokerit for his final KHL season in 2019-20. Returning to Liiga in 2020, Kontiola would capture the Golden Helmet in his lone season with HPK, before returning to Tampere with Ilves in 2021. Between his combined 19 seasons in the KHL, NHL and Liiga, Kontiola notched 619 points in 922 career games spanning nineteen seasons, along with another 79 points in 148 career playoff games.
Debuting for the Leijonat at the 2004 World Junior Championship, winning Bronze, Kontiola made his senior team debut at the 2007 World Championship, his first of seven (2007, 2010, 2012-15, 2021) appearances, capturing a trio of Silver Medals across three decades (2007, 2014, 2021), being named to the tournament’s All-Star Team in 2013. Kontiola would also capture three Euro Hockey Tour titles (2010, 2014, 2018), and would draw in to the lineup at both the 2014 Sochi and 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, capturing Bronze at the former.
Kontiola captured the IHLC eleven times over the course of his career, winning first in 2003 at the World Junior Championships, with his last coming 18 years later at the 2021 World Championships. We wish Petri and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!