After 24 years of playing professional hockey, Alexei Kovalev has retired.
Kovalev was the first ever Russian player to be drafted in the first round, the first ever Russian to captain an all star team, and the first ever Russian to win the Stanley Cup.
Kovalev has played in 1,316 NHL regular season games, the most of any other Russian player. He also has 430 career goals and 599 assists; and 45 goals and 55 assists in 123 playoff games.
He first played professionally for Dynamo Moscow, and has since played for the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins (twice), Montreal Canadiens, Ak Bars Kazan, Ottawa Senators, Atlant Moscow Oblast, Florida Panthers, and finally the EHC Visp of the Swiss B League.
He’s represented his country in the 1990 (silver) and 1991 (silver) European Junior Championships, 1992 World Junior Championship (gold), 1992 Winter Olympics (gold), 1992 World Championship, 1996 World Cup, 1998 World Championship, 2002 Winter Olympics (bronze), 2004 World Cup, 2005 World Championship, and the 2006 Winter Olympics.
In his final season with the EHC Visp of the Swiss National League B, he led his team to the championship, scoring 29 goals and 41 assists in 59 games at 41 years old.
"Unfortunately I have to retire because of my injuries. I’d have loved to play until I’m 50 but the injuries from the last few seasons don’t let me continue my career. It’s a hard decision for me but it is what it is. It was my last season.” (x)