Sports

Saku Koivu, star for Canadiens, Ducks, retires after 18 seasons in NHL

  • FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2011, file photo, Anaheim Ducks' Saku Koivu, of Finland, waves to the crowd following an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal. The NHL players association announced on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014,  that the Finnish star would call it a career after 18 seasons, all but five of which were spent in Montreal. He won four Olympic medals with Finland in the Winter Olympics, including a silver in their 2006 loss to archrival Sweden in the final. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes, File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2011, file photo, Anaheim Ducks' Saku Koivu, of Finland, waves to the crowd following an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal. The NHL players association announced on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, that the Finnish star would call it a career after 18 seasons, all but five of which were spent in Montreal. He won four Olympic medals with Finland in the Winter Olympics, including a silver in their 2006 loss to archrival Sweden in the final. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2008, file photo, Montreal Canadiens' Saku Koivu, of Finland, moves the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio. The NHL players association announced on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014,  that the Finnish star would call it a career after 18 seasons, all but five of which were spent in Montreal. He won four Olympic medals with Finland in the Winter Olympics, including a silver in their 2006 loss to archrival Sweden in the final. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2008, file photo, Montreal Canadiens' Saku Koivu, of Finland, moves the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio. The NHL players association announced on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, that the Finnish star would call it a career after 18 seasons, all but five of which were spent in Montreal. He won four Olympic medals with Finland in the Winter Olympics, including a silver in their 2006 loss to archrival Sweden in the final. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2011, file photo, Anaheim Ducks' Saku Koivu skates by sign reading "KOIVU #1" before an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal. The NHL players association announced on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014,  that the Finnish star would call it a career after 18 seasons, all but five of which were spent in Montreal. He won four Olympic medals with Finland in the Winter Olympics, including a silver in their 2006 loss to archrival Sweden in the final. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes, File)

    FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2011, file photo, Anaheim Ducks' Saku Koivu skates by sign reading "KOIVU #1" before an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal. The NHL players association announced on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, that the Finnish star would call it a career after 18 seasons, all but five of which were spent in Montreal. He won four Olympic medals with Finland in the Winter Olympics, including a silver in their 2006 loss to archrival Sweden in the final. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes, File)  (The Associated Press)

Longtime Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu (COY-vu) has retired.

The NHL players association announced on Wednesday that the Finnish star would call it a career after 18 seasons, all but five of which were spent in Montreal. He won four Olympic medals with Finland in the Winter Olympics, including a silver medal in their 2006 loss to archrival Sweden in the final.

In a statement released by the NHLPA, Koivu says he has "been contemplating retirement for quite some time" and "very confident" in his decision.

In 1999, Koivu was chosen as the first European-born captain in Canadiens history.