Back in May, former Washington Capitals winger Alexander Semin announced that he was retiring from professional hockey. To mark the occasion, Semin also announced that he will host a farewell charity game next week in his hometown of Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Friends and former teammates, including Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, will be on hand to participate in the event.
Earlier this week Semin discussed his decision to retire from the game hockey in a interview with Russian sports media outlet Championat.
“I knew that sooner or later this would have to come. At first, I was still torn, there was a desire, although my health did not really allow it. My wife told me, ‘No need. Maybe enough?‘ She saw my condition,” Semin told Championat.
“Every year I delayed it [retirement]. – ‘I’ll play for a year – and that’s it’ … So it was with me every year: ‘I’ll play for a year and finish, I’ll play for a year and finish.’ But it didn’t work. And yet I made such a decision that it’s time. Of course, at first, it was hard to realize this. But as they say, time heals, and another stage of life begins – raising children and a new career in hockey.”
Semin, 38, admitted the decision to end his professional hockey career did not come easy for him, but his body was telling him the time had come.
“Of course, it’s hard for every player to leave. But age makes itself felt, young people are stepping on their heels,” said Semin. “It’s better to be remembered as a strong player, not the one who went out and crawled on the ice. It’s not about me, I guess. When I could, I played, and then I felt that it became hard. The body is not eternal. Years of training and games do not pass without a trace.”
Semin reflected on his achievements in the game of professional hockey in his interview with Championat.
“All achievements are important to me, all victories are achievements for me. There were victories in the World Cup [IIHF World Championships]. And when we won [World Championship] in 2008. A boom in Russian hockey happened. Everyone began to bring their children to hockey like crazy, whether the child wanted it or not – it was cool.”
Semin said he felt it was important to hold one final game to celebrate his career and to support the local children and their love for the game.
“It is important to hold such a game in Krasnoyarsk, in front of my fans and relatives, who saw how I left and what I have become now,” Semin told Championat. “It’s great for children from all sports schools in Krasnoyarsk, who received free tickets to this match, to watch hockey legends, live. In our city, hockey is loved and appreciated, and I am sure that some of the Krasnoyarsk boys will become superstars.
Semin will now transition from the ice to his new role in hockey, advisor to the General Director at Sokol, a role he has held since March.
“At the moment, there is not much to tell – I just delve into the structure of the club, into the system: who does what, how and why. Because playing is one thing, but managing a team is completely different, you need to learn this. Now we are trying to recruit an MHL team to be our affiliate for next season.”
The Capitals drafted Semin in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft with the 13th overall pick. He played for them from 2003-04 and then from 2006-07 through 2011-12 until leaving the team in free agency in 2012. During his time with the Capitals, he was generally the team’s second-best goal scorer, after Alex Ovechkin.
By Diane Doyle
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