It’s a common tradition across sports: when a player of great stature retires, teams shower them with gifts commemorating their time in the league. The gifts range from funny to weird to really cool and creative, but nonetheless it’s a classy thing to do. That’s why when 38-year-old Saku Koivu got to the Bell Centre in Montreal Thursday morning, a present was waiting for him.
In Anaheim’s locker room, a customized chair with Koivu’s name and number on it was waiting for the former Montreal captain, as if parts of his old jersey were wrapped around it as decoration. His No. 11 is on the seat of the chair as well as the two arm rests, the Canadiens logo is on the back with his familiar “C” on the right side of the “jersey,” and wrapping around the top is his name.
Koivu spent the first 14 years of his NHL career with the Habs, coming up to the big club in 1995 as a 20-year-old stud. Between 2001 and 2002, Koivu’s battle with cancer — and eventual defeat — endeared fans for good.
The former first-rounder returned to Montreal two seasons ago with the Ducks, but in his fifth year with Anaheim and only on a one-year contract, it may be the final time Koivu steps on the ice as a player at the Bell Centre. Expect a warm welcome for the centerman from an always loud and rowdy fanbase.
Check out a picture of the sweet (and pretty comfortable looking) chair below.
Here's Koivu's gift from the Canadiens that was waiting for him in the locker room this morning. Fantastic. http://t.co/IE5AtSQPCR—
Kyle Shohara (@kyleshohara) October 24, 2013