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Former NHL star Kovalev announces retirement

Thursday, 07.03.2014 / 12:19 PM / News

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Former NHL star Kovalev announces retirement
Former NHL star Alex Kovalev has retired from professional hockey after playing in Switzerland last season

Longtime NHL player Alex Kovalev officially announced his retirement Thursday.

Kovalev, 41, won the Stanley Cup in 1994 with the New York Rangers and most recently played in the NHL for the Florida Panthers during the 2012-13 season. He spent last season playing with Swiss second-tier team EHC Visp and organizing hockey camps in the region.

According to the International Ice Hockey Federation website, Kovalev cited injuries for his decision to retire.

"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," Kovalev told TV station Kanal9 at a hockey camp in Leukerbad, Switzerland. "It's a hard decision for me but it is what it is. It was my last season."

The Rangers made Kovalev the 15th pick in the 1991 NHL Draft and he debuted in the 1992-93 season, scoring 20 goals. A year later Kovalev was instrumental to the Rangers ending a 54-year championship drought, scoring nine goals and 21 points in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Kovalev's career took off after he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had career highs of 44 goals and 95 points in 2000-01 and averaged 77 points per season from 1998-2003.

Kovalev was traded back to the Rangers in 2003 and played with the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators.

In 19 NHL seasons, he had 430 goals and 1,029 points in 1,316 regular-season games; he's first among Russian-born NHL players in games played, third in points and fourth in goals. He had 45 goals and 100 points in 123 playoff games.

Kovalev played for Russia/Unified Team three times at the Olympics, serving as captain for the team at the 2006 Turin Olympics, and won a gold medal at the 1992 Albertville Olympics and a bronze at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

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