‘Fan favorite’ Olli Jokinen to retire a Florida Panther

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Olli Jokinen, who spent seven seasons in Florida and four of them serving as team captain, will sign an honorary contract to officially retire a Panther, the club announced on Tuesday.

“Olli is an important player in the history of the Panthers franchise and he remains a fan favorite,” GM Dale Tallon said in a release. “We are proud to give Olli the opportunity to retire as a Panther and we congratulate him on a long, successful and productive National Hockey League career.”

Jokinen, 38, spent seven years in Florida, wearing the “C” from 2003-08. He appeared in nearly 600 games in a Panthers uniform, during which he set franchise marks for most points, goals, game-winning goals, OT goals, power play points and shots on net.

“My heart has always been with the Panthers organization and now I feel like my career has come full circle,” said Jokinen. “I am extremely grateful that I had the chance to play hockey in South Florida and help the sport grow.

“I want to thank my family – my wife Katerina and my daughters Alexandra, Emma and Keira – and all of the fans, teammates, coaches and staff who have supported me throughout my career.”

Jokinen was taken third overall by L.A. at the ’97 draft, playing for both the Kings and Isles before joining Florida in 2000. Following his stint with the Panthers, the veteran Finn played for the Coyotes, Flames, Jets, Predators, Leafs and Blues.