After just seven games in Columbus, Finnish forward Mikko Koivu today announced his retirement from hockey after fifteen NHL seasons, noting his level of play was not up to his standard, just a month shy of his 38th birthday.
A Turku native, Koivu joined his hometown TPS as a junior player in 1997, joining the senior squad in 2000 and staying until 2004, winning the Liiga championship in 2001. The 6th overall pick of Minnesota in the 2001 NHL Draft, Koivu jumped to North America in 2004, joining the Wild full time in 2005, where he would spend the next fifteen seasons in the State of Hockey, capturing most franchise records and serving as the first full-time captain in team history from 2009 onwards. However, due to a history of injuries, and his contract in Minnesota expiring, Koivu signed with the Blue Jackets in 2020, but after just seven games and two points, decided his body was not up to playing levels any further, and announced his sudden retirement. Professionally, Koivu retires with 206 goals and 711 points in 1035 career NHL games, along with 28 points in 59 playoff games, along with 68 points in 161 Liiga games.
Koivu, the younger brother of Leijonat legend Saku, first joined the junior ranks of the national team at the 2000 World Under-18 championships, winning Gold, followed by two trips to the World Juniors, winning Silver in 2001 and Bronze in 2002. Koivu made his senior debut on the grand stage of the 2004 World Cup Of Hockey, going on to play at six World Championships (2006-08, 2011-12, 2016), two Olympics (2006-10), and both the 2004 and 2016 World Cups. Koivu would win his only other Gold as captain of the Leijonat at the 2011 World Championships, capturing Silver at the 2004 World Cup, 2006 Olympics and 2007 and 2016 World Championships, and Bronze at the World Championships in 2006 and 2008, and Olympics in 2010. Koivu retires with 51 points in 77 career senior games, and 18 points in 27 junior games.
Over his seventeen year career with the Leijonat, Koivu captured the IHLC six times in total, the first coming at the 2001 World Juniors, and the last at his final World Championships in 2016. We wish Mikko and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!