Saku Koivu, Longtime Montreal Canadiens Captain, Retires After 18 Seasons

Saku KoivuTORONTO — Longtime Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu has retired.

The NHL players association announced Wednesday that the Finnish star would call it a career after 18 seasons, all but five of which were spent in Montreal. He won four Olympic medals with Finland, including a silver medal in their 2006 loss to rival Sweden in the final.

In 1999, Koivu was chosen as the first European-born captain in Canadiens history.

“I feel I was truly lucky to have a chance to play for the legendary Canadiens for so many years and serve as captain, and share that great honor with many truly legendary captains from before my time,” Koivu said in a statement from the NHLPA.

Koivu missed most of the 2001-2002 season to fight non-Hodgkins lymphoma, then came back to help Montreal make the playoffs that year. After 13 seasons with Montreal, and one with TPS Turku in the Finnish league during the NHL lockout, Koivu signed with the Anaheim Ducks in 2009 and helped them to the playoffs three times.

Koivu finished his career with 255 goals in 1,124 NHL games.

Photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images

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