Former Soviet great Fetisov to return at 51

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former Soviet captain Vyacheslav Fetisov will play his first professional game in more than a decade when he takes to the ice for his former club CSKA Moscow on Friday.

The 51-year-old defenseman will take on SKA St Petersburg after signing a provisional contract and passing a medical, the Continental Hockey League said on its website (www.khl.ru).

He retired in June 1998 after helping the Detroit Red Wings to their second consecutive Stanley Cup and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.

Fetisov said he was forced into action after his club lost several first-team defensemen to injury.

Even at the age of 51, Fetisov will not be claiming a record when he makes his return.

Canadian Gordie Howe retired in 1980, aged 52, after playing a full season for the NHL's Hartford Whalers.

At 69, he played one game for the Detroit Vipers of the International Hockey League in 1997.

(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; editing by Kevin Fylan)