ST PAUL, Minn. — Editor's note: The video above originally aired Nov. 3, 2016.
Mikko Koivu wasn't the flashiest or most skilled player to ever wear a Wild uniform. But if you ask former teammates to name a player they'd want to go to battle with, chances are most of them would put Koivu at the top of the list.
The Wild announced Monday that the stoic centerman's jersey will be the first one in franchise history to be retired. The club will hoist the No. 9 to the rafters during a special pre-game ceremony March 13, before Minnesota takes on the Nashville Predators.
“We are extremely excited to announce that Mikko Koivu will be the first player in team history to have his jersey retired,” said Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold in a released statement. “Mikko did so many great things for our organization on the ice and in our community during his 15-year career here. He truly deserves this honor and I look forward to celebrating this historic moment with his family and all our passionate fans at Xcel Energy Center on March 13.”
During 16 seasons in the National Hockey League (15 with Minnesota), Koivu played in 1,035 games, notching 711 points (206 goals, 505 assists) while spending 594 minutes in the penalty box, a testament to his toughness. Along with his status as the Wild's all-time leader in points, Koivu is also tops in shots on goal (2,270), power play points (251), face-offs won (10,354) and playoff games skated (59). His unparalleled work ethic and hard nosed, unrelenting style earned him the honor of being named the Wild's first full-time captain in 2009, a title Koivu held until he and the hockey club parted ways following the 2020 season.
“No one worked harder than Mikko during his time with the Minnesota Wild,” said Wild General Manger Bill Guerin in a press release. “He was a fiery competitor and a fantastic captain both on and off the ice. Mikko is the franchise leader in so many categories, but the impact he made in our community and the connections he made with Wild fans, will live on forever."
Along with his storied career with the Wild, Mikko Koivu captained and played on a number of international and Olympic teams representing his native Finland. Koivu and his family still live in the Twin Cities, where he is doing work in the Wild front office.