Blues' Kasperi Kapanen facing aggravated drunk driving charges

A report from Finnish national broadcaster Yle details that the case is expected to be heard early next year.

St. Louis Blues forward Kasperi Kapanen has been charged with aggravated drunk driving, as first reported by Finland’s national broadcasting company Yle.

Kapanen’s case is scheduled to be heard in the district court of Pohjois-Savo early next year in February 2024, while the case was brought to the district court on Aug. 23 (North Savo), Yle reported.

"Last month I made an unacceptable error in judgement and take full responsibility for my actions," Kapanen said in a statement. "I offer my apologies to my family, the Blues organization, my teammates, and the fans. I understand the severity of my mistake and am committed to doing everything I can to earn back their trust.”

The 27-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Blues in February and is entering the final year of his existing contract, holding a $3.2 million cap hit for the upcoming season.

“Today we became aware of the incident involving Kasperi and I have spoken with him and his agent," Blues president and general manager Doug Armstrong said Thursday. "We are disappointed in his lapse of judgement and are entrusting him to make the necessary changes to avoid putting himself in a similar situation in the future.”

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 19: St. Louis Blues right wing Kasperi Kapanen (42) during a game between the Winnipeg Jets and the St. Louis Blues on March 19 2023, at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis MO (Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
St. Louis Blues forward Kasperi Kapanen has been suspected of aggravated drunk driving, according to a report from Finland’s national broadcasting company Yle. (Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The forward has had a tumultuous past number of seasons on the ice, including being dealt by the Maple Leafs to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2020. Kapanen's struggles in recent years to produce offensively, however, ultimately soured the Penguins, leading to the club cutting bait with the fleet-footed skater.

Yle reported that drunk driving is considered aggravated in Finland “if the driver's blood alcohol concentration is at least 1.2 per thousand or he has at least 0.53 milligrams of alcohol per liter of exhaled air during or after driving.”

Kapanen was selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Penguins, then subsequently traded to the Maple Leafs in a multi-player deal involving Phil Kessel in July 2015. He has played 387 NHL games, recording 78 goals and 108 assists, totaling 186 points in stints with the Maple Leafs, Penguins and Blues.