The Montreal Canadiens announced today that prior to the December 18th game against the Anaheim Ducks at the Bell Centre, the Habs will honour former captain Saku Koivu in a pre-game ceremony.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) November 21, 2014
Koivu is tied with Jean Beliveau as the longest serving captain in the Canadiens’ storied history. He is also the Habs’ first European born captain.
He was the face of the franchise during his 14 years with the organization and handled himself with the utmost class through cancer, a series of frustrating and scary injuries and without ever winning a Stanley Cup.
A native of Turku, Finland, Koivu played in 1,124 NHL games and scored 255 goals and 577 assists. He was also a fixture at international competitions and competed in four Olympic games, two World Cups and seven IIHF world championships. He won a gold medal for Finland in 1995.
The original number 11 announced his retirement in September after a 22 year career in the NHL with Montreal and Anaheim.
Whether or not he is ever immortalized with his jersey hung from the rafters, Koivu will forever be remembered by Habs fans for his dedication to the sport and for his fearless battle with cancer.
After missing much of the season due to treatment, Koivu returned to the ice in time to help the Habs clinch their spot in the 2002 playoffs and went on to participate in all 12 playoffs games. He led the team in points, with 10 (along with Doug Gilmour and Donald Audette).
Koivu is a well-deserving recipient of such an honour and here’s hoping the cheers rain down from the Bell Centre rafters once again as he steps out onto the ice.
Don’t miss the chance to be part of the celebration and welcome home a Canadiens hero. Buy your Ducks vs. Habs tickets here.