The forward, who will be the first Wild player to receive the honor, retired from the NHL last season after playing all but seven of his 1,035 regular-season games with the Wild during his 16 NHL seasons.”I look at it also like it’s one more chance to say thank you to the fans and also to the people that helped me a lot throughout my career here in Minnesota,” Koivu said. ”I didn’t get a chance to [say goodbye when he retired] … especially with the fans and players and management and staff. All that. That will be fun.”Selected by Minnesota with the No. 6 pick in the 2001 NHL Draft, Koivu became the first to play 1,000 regular-season games for them Dec. 1, 2019, and is their leader in points (709), assists (504) and regular-season games (1,028), and second in goals (205) behind Marian Gaborik (219). Koivu scored 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in a Wild-record 59 Stanley Cup Playoff games.”I’m proud of it. I’m proud to be a part of the Wild, always have been,” Koivu said. ”I think just that feeling like I’ve said before, spending many years with the team but also how much hockey means for the state of Minnesota, for people here. I think that’s something you don’t realize, I didn’t for the first couple years. You just play the game and things like that. But then when you start to realize with the kids hockey and high school, college and all the way obviously to the NHL. I think that’s special.”Koivu was named Minnesota’s first full-time captain at the start of 2009-10 season (the Wild alternated captains for their first eight seasons) and held that role until 2020, before signing a one-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 10. He pondered retirement when the Wild decided not to re-sign him but said the chance to play for the Blue Jackets reinvigorated him initially. Koivu scored two points (one goal, one assist) in seven games with them before retiring Feb. 9.”We are extremely excited to announce that Mikko Koivu will be the first player in team history to have his jersey retired,” Wild owner Craig Leipold said Monday. ”Mikko did so many great things for our organization on the ice and in our community during his 15-year career here. He truly deserves this honor and I look forward to celebrating this historic moment with his family and all our passionate fans at Xcel Energy Center on March 13.”The Wild retired No. 1 in honor of their fans prior to their first NHL game on Oct. 11, 2000.”No one worked harder than Mikko during his time with the Minnesota Wild,” Wild general manager Bill Guerin said. ”He was a fiery competitor and a fantastic captain both on and off the ice. Mikko is the franchise leader in so many categories, but the impact he made in our community and the connections he made with Wild fans will live on forever. We look forward to sharing this special honor with Mikko and all of our great fans on March 13.” independent correspondent Jessi Pierce contributed to this reportWinnipeg Jets Pelipaita