Columbus Blue Jackets forward Mikko Koivu announced his retirement on Tuesday after playing seven games during his 16th NHL season.
Koivu, 37, recorded three points (one goal, two assists) with the Blue Jackets after signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the club in October.
“Mikko Koivu is a consummate pro and while we are disappointed that his time as a Blue Jacket was short, we understand and respect the decision he has made because it is the result of the deep respect he has for the game, our organization and his teammates,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.
“I’ve known Mikko for a very long time and am proud of everything he has accomplished and how he has represented our club, the Minnesota Wild and Team Finland over the past two decades. I wish him many happy years as he transitions into the next chapter in his life.”
Koivu spent his previous 15 seasons with the Minnesota Wild, serving as their captain since 2009-10.
He admitted that his decision to end his NHL career was a difficult one.
“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,” Koivu said.
“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 native of Finland is the Wild’s career leader in points (709), assists (504) and games (1,028) and ranks second in goals (205). He added 11 goals and 17 assists in 59 Stanley Cup playoff games.
Minnesota selected Koivu with the sixth overall pick in the 2001 NHL Draft.
He hit the 50-point mark seven times during his 15 seasons with the Wild. He is a three-time 20-goal scorer, including the 2009-10 campaign when he set career highs in goals (22), assists (49) and points (71).
–Field Level Media