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Wild Retire Mikko Koivu's Jersey: 'You Will Always Have A Place In My Heart'

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- The Minnesota Wild honored longtime captain Mikko Koivu Sunday by retiring his number before beating the Nashville Predators.

Thousands of fans were on hand to witness the first player in Wild history to have their number retired.

"He's always been a leader for the team and just an amazing player overall," a young fan said.

Koivu played 15 seasons with the Wild.

"There is only one 'State of Hockey' -- and you guys really are the best," Koivu told the crowd Sunday.

Fans caught a different side of the always-stoic player they knew during the pre-game ceremony at Xcel Energy Center.

Mikko Koivu
Mikko Koivu (credit: CBS)

"And my beautiful, loving Sophie, you are such a good role model for your two brothers, and you are so, so special to me," Koivu said to his daughter.

Koivu quickly became a fan favorite after he was drafted in the first round in 2001.

"He's a man of the people, right? Yes, he's Finnish and all that, but like at the end of the day like he's just a guy that everyone can relate to," a fan said.

He's number one in games played, points, assists, and many more categories. And now no other Wild player will ever wear number 9.

"You will always have a place in my heart. Thank you and I love you all," Koivu said.

In the video above, WCCO's Norman Seawright III sits down with Koivu to talk about his career, and future.

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