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NHL investigating Flyers’ Lehtera after drug bust in Finland

The Associated Press
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In this Jan. 23, 2018, file photo, Philadelphia Flyers center Jori Lehtera (15) plays against the Detroit Red Wings duriing the first period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit. The NHL is investigating Philadelphia Flyers forward Jori Lehtera after a report he’s being questioned in connection with a drug bust in his native Finland. Lehtera’s lawyer, Ari Nieminen, said Thursday, Sept.27, 2018, that he expects Finnish police to release a statement clarifying some misunderstandings that came out of the report.(AP Photo/Paul Sancya,File)

The NHL said Thursday it is investigating Philadelphia Flyers forward Jori Lehtera after a report he is being questioned in connection with a drug bust in his native Finland.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league is investigating the situation. Lehtera’s lawyer, Ari Nieminen, said he expects police to release a statement clearing up some things that came out of the report.

“Police is giving this brief statement about this because this is getting out of hand,” Nieminen said by phone. “They are going to clear some things up because there’s some kind of misunderstanding about his case.”

Finnish news agency MTV reported Wednesday that Lehtera is connected with an investigation into a cocaine ring. Nieminen said no charges have been filed against Lehtera.

“He’s only suspected,” Nieminen said. “In my opinion, very minor things. It’s wrong to say that he’s involved with this kind of thing what they are really investigating, the police.”

Nieminen said he could not comment on specific details of the case. He expects the police briefing to come Friday. A spokeswoman for the police department did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Lehtera, 30, is entering his fifth NHL season and is in the last year of his contract with Philadelphia. He has played 280 regular-season and 39 playoff games for the St. Louis Blues and Flyers.

“We have spoken with Jori Lehtera and the league office regarding the reports out of Finland, and will reserve any further comment on the matter at this time,” Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said.

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