Andrei Markov, the Russian workhorse defenceman who anchored top bluelines for over 20 seasons in both Canada and his native Russia, today announced his retirement from Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL at age 41, three weeks after the KHL season was suspended over COVID-19.
Starting his professional career in the junior systems of Voskresensk and Dynamo Moscow, Markov was drafted in the sixth round of the 1998 NHL Draft by the Montréal Canadiens, joining the team in 2000. After two seasons back and forth between the Habs and their AHL club, Markov became a permanent Canadien in 2002, and would spend the next 16 seasons with the bleu, blanc et rouge, notching 572 points in 990 NHL games and two NHL All-Star nods, all with Montréal. Markov had stints back in Russia during NHL lockouts, playing with Dynamo in 2004-05 and Vityaz Chekhov in 2012, returning to Russia full-time in 2017, spending two seasons with Ak Bars Kazan and his final year in Yaroslavl, winning the Gagarin Cup in 2018, and being named a two-time KHL All-Star, in addition to Russian SuperLeague titles in 2000 and 2005.
Markov first joined Russia’s junior system at age 18, winning Gold at the 1996 European Junior Championships, later suiting up for Russia at both the 1997 and 1998 World Juniors, winning Bronze and Silver medals, respectively. He made his senior debut at the 1999 World Championships, the first of five Worlds (1999, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2008) Markov played in, winning Gold at the Centennial World Championships in 2008, as well as Bronze medals in 2005 and 2007. Markov also played at three Olympics (2006, 2010, 2014), the 2004-05 Euro Hockey Tour, and both the 2004 and 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the latter serving as his final international appearance for The Big Red Machine.
Despite his long tenure with the Russian national team, Markov only won the IHLC twice in his career – first in 1997 in the lead-up to the 1998 World Juniors final, and his last as part of Russia’s undefeated run to their 2008 World Championship in Québec. We wish Andrei and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!