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Minnesota Wild to retire Mikko Koivu’s No. 9 jersey on March 13

Koivu played 1,028 games for the Wild, recording 205 goals and 504 assists across 15 seasons.

ST. PAUL -- Mikko Koivu became synonymous with the Wild during his illustrious hockey career in the Twin Cities.

Now his name will live forever in the rafters of the arena he helped become such a special place.

On Monday afternoon the Minnesota Wild announced that they will be retiring Koivu’s iconic No. 9 jersey. The ceremony will take place on March 13 at Xcel Energy Center before the game against 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,” Wild owner Craig Leipold said in a release. “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.”

It’s fitting that Koivu is the first player in franchise history to have his number retired. While veteran stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter joined the team in the early 2010s, and brought a lot of cache with them, Koivu remained the face of the franchise.

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After joining the franchise as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2001 NHL draft, Koivu played 1,028 games for the Wild, recording 205 goals and 504 assists across 15 seasons. He was the first permanent captain in franchise history, holding that honor until he left the organization following the 2019-20 season. He played briefly with the Columbus Blue Jackets before retiring from the NHL.

“No one worked harder than Mikko during his time with the Minnesota Wild,” Wild general manager Bill Guerin said in a statement. “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. We look forward to sharing this special honor with Mikko and all of our great fans on March 13.”

The 38-year-old native of Finland wasn’t available for comment on Monday afternoon. He will speak to reporters on Tuesday morning.

Injury updates

Jared Spurgeon and Mats Zuccarello both practiced at TRIA Rink in downtown St. Paul on Monday morning, a clear indication that their respective injuries are not as serious as they could have been.

For Spurgeon, it was the fourth straight day he has skated after suffering a lower-body injury during a Nov. 20 loss to the Florida Panthers. For Zuccarello, it marked the first time he has skated since getting slashed on the left hand during a win over the Winnipeg Jets last Friday.

Though it’s unclear if either player will suit up for the game against the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center, the fact they are both back on their skates is a good sign.

“Obviously, both guys are key players for our team,” forward Kevin Fiala said. “Very happy to see them out there. Hopefully they’ll be back soon.”

Long homestand

After spending a lot of time on the road this season, the Wild are relishing some time at home this week.

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They kicked off a weeklong homestand with big wins over the rival Jets and defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning over the weekend. They will look to keep things rolling with home games against the Coyotes on Tuesday, the New Jersey Devils on Thursday and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

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