Mikko Koivu announces retirement after 16 NHL seasons

Mikko Koivu has announced his retirement after 16 years in the NHL and only seven games into his tenure with the Blue Jackets.

“This was not an easy decision for me as I have loved every minute of my short time in Columbus and really hoped to be able to help this team accomplish its goals this season, but the bottom line is I haven’t been able to get to the level of play that I need to be true to myself and fair to my teammates, so the time is right for me to retire from hockey,” said Koivu in a statement. “I have been extremely blessed and I am eternally grateful to the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets organizations for the opportunities they have given me to live out my dreams of playing in the National Hockey League for the past 16 years.”

The 37-year-old Koivu signed with Columbus in October after spending his first 15 NHL seasons with the Wild. His Blue Jackets debut was delayed until Jan. 26 after he contracted COVID-19 and missed the team’s first six games. In seven games this season he scored a goal and recorded an assist.

An all-time Wild player

Minnesota selected Koivu sixth overall in the 2001 draft and later served as team captain from 2009-2020. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in games play, assists, and points. He finishes his NHL career with 206 goals and 711 points in 1,035 career games.

Internationally, he represented Finland at two Olympics, winning silver and bronze, as well as two World Cups, six IIHF World Championships, where he won gold, two silver and two bronze medals, and two World Junior Championships, winning silver and bronze.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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