For whatever reason, there’s been a series of teams retiring jersey numbers for the first time lately. Mikko Koivu is the latest retired player to earn that honor, as the Minnesota Wild retired his number 9, making him the franchise’s first.
You can watch the Mikko Koivu number 9 jersey retirement ceremony in the video above.
Earlier this season, the Blue Jackets retired their first jersey (Rick Nash, 61) and the Predators did the same with Pekka Rinne (35).
Easy to see why Wild retired number 9 in honor of Mikko Koivu
The Wild selected Mikko Koivu sixth overall in 2001. He was their second first-round pick, after Marian Gaborik (third overall in 2000).
Koivu ended up playing 1,028 of his 1,035 regular-season games with the Wild. (Yes, you are forgiven for forgetting that Koivu played seven games for the Blue Jackets, even though that happened in 2020-21.)
Koivu generated 206 goals and 505 assists during his career, with one goal and one assist coming from that short Columbus swan song.
Ultimately, Koivu appeared in 59 playoff games — all with the Wild — though never more than 13 in any single postseason run. One could imagine a more enthusiastic mainstream reputation for Koivu had the Wild surrounded him with more help.
But he was one of the best players the franchise had ever seen, and put together a lengthy career with Minnesota.
“(When Minnesota drafted me) it was the best thing that could have happened to me,” Koivu said, via NHL.com’s transcription. “I had no idea how much this team would come to mean to me, and I’m so grateful and honored to have played here for so long.”
Clearly, the Wild felt honored that he played so long for them, too.