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[Report] Saku Koivu announces retirement

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Former Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu announces retirement after 18 years:

Former Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu has announced his retirement. Koivu, 39, played for Montreal from 1995 through 2009 and was captain from 1999 on.

During his time with the Habs, the Finnish forward was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and missed almost all of the 2001-02 season before making an emotional return.

Koivu spent the past five seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, who decided not to bring him back this off-season.

In 1,124 career NHL games after a few years playing in Finland's SM-Liiga, Koivu recorded 255 goals and 577 assists for 832 points.

"Looking back at my 22 years of pro hockey first in Finland and then in the NHL I feel truly blessed and fulfilled," he said in a statement released by the NHL Players' Association. "I have been contemplating retirement for quite some time and am very confident in my decision at this time and place."

Koivu fan favourite to Habs fans

After four years with Turku in the Finnish pro league, Koivu broke in with the Canadiens in the 1995-96 season, scoring 20 goals and 45 points. He topped 20 goals three times with the Canadiens and twice scored more than 70 points for Montreal.

Appointed Habs' captain in 1999, the fleet forward was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2001 and missed nearly the entire season. He made an emotional return to the Bell Centre and played the entire 2002-03 season, statistically one of his best, netting 21 goals and 50 assists.

The 210 of his career 255 NHL goals came during Koivu's stint in Montreal. He appeared in the post-season three times for the Ducks, including last spring when he saw action in 13 games.

The Ducks decided during the off-season not to invite him back, and after a summer on contemplation the 39-year-old opted to end his career.


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Guy was electrifyingly fast and talented before he blew out his knees. Never stopped being one of the great leaders and role models in the sport. He's always been the type of guy to shine when it mattered most and he's just a class act all around. His return from cancer to Montreal...unbelievable.

Enjoy your retirement Saku!

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Wow that footage brought tears to my eyes. I remember watching that live. A four minute standing ovation is incredibly long and rare. I really never liked the Canadiens until that year. They lost close to most man games in history I think and still made the playoffs. Respect.

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