Alexander Semin Reflects On Hockey Career Ahead Of Farewell Game


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.”

Photo: Championat

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.”

Photo: Championat

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

Further Reading
Alexander Semin’s Official “Farewell to Hockey” Charity Game Set For June 30; Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin Invited To Participate
Championat Ru: Interview with Alexander Semin — Charity Hockey & Why He Ended Career
Championat Ru: Semin Farewell Match Schedule
Story from Sports Express Russia
Story from Enisey TV
Story from TASS
Story from All Hockey Russia
Story from Newslab — Krasnoyarsk
Alexander Semin Continues To Play The Game He Loves, Even Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic
Question and Answer Session with Former Washington Capital, Alexander Semin
Question and Answer Session With Former Washington Capital, Alexander Semin – Part 2
Semin, Samsonov Win the KHL’s Gagarin Cup
The Rise and Fall of Alexander Semin

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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8 Responses to Alexander Semin Reflects On Hockey Career Ahead Of Farewell Game

  1. novafyre says:

    To me, Semin was always the poster boy of unrealized use of talent. He could have been so much more but lacked the drive that Ovi has. He wasted his best years and then, as he said, time caught up to him.

    Time has caught up with Lundquist, Czara, and Thornton, is catching up with Ovi, Bergeron, Malkin, and Sid just as it caught up with superstars in other sports. Heck, we’re seeing retirements of some in their 20s. Sports stars have to take the most advantage of the limited window of opportunity that they are given.

    But they also have to know when it’s time to move on. Life doesn’t end when they hang up the skates, or football, or racket. I especially love his line “It’s better to be remembered as a strong player, not the one who went out and crawled on the ice.”

    Another Caps favorite may be at that point. I don’t want to see Nicky crawl out on the ice. I want to remember him as the underappreciated NHL superstar that he has been, a Caps record setter only eclipsed by Ovechkin. As Semin said “The body is not eternal. Years of training and games do not pass without a trace.” Nicky is at a crossroads and I hope that he makes the right decision for himself and his family.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Unrealized? He was leading the league in points when he got hurt in 08-09. He had literally realized his talent.

  3. Diane Doyle says:

    The first round of the 2002 NHL Draft was one very notable for many players with careers ending prematurely due to injuries. This includes Rick Nash (the first pick), Joni Pitkanen, Ryan Whitney, Chris Higgins, Jeff Lupul, and others. Semin himself was bothered by a chronic wrist issue that started in 2009. (There were other injuries, too.) But he was never the same player after having wrist surgery after the 2013-14 season and no longer could play at the NHL level, as a result.

    Nobody from the first round of his draft class is playing professional hockey at any level. The last ones from his draft round, were forced to retire after 2019-20 due to health issues (Bouwmeester with a heart issue and Steen with a back issue).

    Perhaps his work ethic could have been better but the wrist injury (and groin injuries, too) were what did him in. In the KHL, he ended his last season, 2020-21, with a broken hand and wrist injuries.

  4. Anonymous says:

    He never really seemed 100% committed to becoming an elite player. He had the natural talent.

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