Mikko Koivu will be the main Finnish star at World championship. Now he serves for the army

Mikko Koivu will be the main Finnish star at World championship. Now he serves for the army

24 Apr 2011 | David Schlegel

He is a big star in the NHL. He is respected captain of Minnesota Wild and meanwhile the best Finnish player overseas. 28-year-old center Mikko Koivu have been playing his sixth season in the NHL and should be the main star of the Finnish national team at the upcoming World championship in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia.

Just before he joins the national team he made an unusual step. He signed a contract with the Finnish army and went into its training center in Lahti. "It is an honour for me. That is the reason, why I don`t want any excuses," he says.

According to the Finnish law all men have to undergo six months long service for the army. There is no need to fulfill it without interruption, so Koivu can divide it into several blocks.

"I wanted to serve some part already last spring, but due to some surgery interventions I had to postpone it," said Koivu to server mtv3.fi. "Now it is good time to join army for a while," he adds. For many people it is surprising decision, because it came just few days before the start of the World championship.

In the army Koivu will meet different conditions than he is used to in the NHL. Last year, Koivu signed a new seven-year-long contract with Minnesota for 47,25 mio. USD. This deal becomes valid from the next season. Meanwhile in the army, he will earn only 5 euro per day.

Before he signed a contract with the Finnish army, he discussed all the details also with general manager of Wild Chuck Fletcher. "I know about his decision. In his case, it is about meeting some requirements for his country," said Fletcher for twincities.com. Koivu also assured Fletcher, that the army service does not influence his readiness for the upcoming NHL season.

Minnesota Wild will need Koivu as a captain in full strength. Wild did not reach the play-offs again this year and the fans have been waiting for it since 2008. In spite of Wild having a bad season, Koivu earned 62 points for 17 goals and 45 assists in 71 games. Only Martin Havlat had the same amount of points in the 2010/11 season.

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