Minnesota Wild's Mikko Koivu fulfilling Finnish military commitment
St. Paul - Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu is addressing obligatory Finnish military service. "I'm aware of it," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said from Germany today. "He's fulfilling a commitment over there that he has to fill." Fletch...
St. Paul - Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu is addressing obligatory Finnish military service.
"I'm aware of it," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said from Germany today. "He's fulfilling a commitment over there that he has to fill."
Fletcher said he talked to Koivu when both were in the Twin Cities and Koivu told him his military service "wouldn't interfere, obviously, with his ability to play for us next year."
Koivu, 28, signed up for six months of service in the Finnish Army today, starting his service at the Lahti sports school.
Koivu did not return a phone message inquiring about his service status.
Under Finnish law, young men must complete at least six months of military service, but not necessarily in one stretch.
Wild prospect Mikael Granlund, the Wild's first-round pick in the NHL draft last summer, also will need to address a Finnish military commitment in the future, Fletcher said.
Fletcher is in Germany for the World Under-18 men's hockey tournament after stopping in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday night to watch the title game of the Finnish Elite League championship.
Granlund's IFK team defeated Espoo 4-2 to sweep the best-of-seven series in four games, with Granlund recording an assist in the final game.
"He played very well," Fletcher said, noting that Granlund tied for the tournament scoring title with 16 points.
Fletcher said he plans to meet with Granlund's agent "in the next little while" to talk about whether
the 5-foot-10, 19-year-old center should play another season in Finland or come to the United States next fall.
"We certainly don't want to rush him," Fletcher said.
The GM also announced that Minnesota signed free agent forward Justin Fontaine of the University of Minnesota-Duluth to a two-year entry-level contract.
Fontaine, 23, recorded 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points for UMD, which won its first NCAA men's hockey championship a week ago in St. Paul. A native of Bonnyville, Alberta, the 5-foot-10, 175-pounder totaled 164 points in 159 games during four seasons with the Bulldogs and ranked fourth in the nation in scoring this season.
Fletcher said his scouting duties in Europe are not complicating his search for a new Wild coach, a search he called "ongoing." He added, "The only comment I will make at any time is when we announce a head coach."
He said he has no timetable and declined to talk about the status of the search or confirm the names of anyone he has consulted.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.