Andrei Markov has played 16 seasons in the uniform of the Canadian. A few times during his career, he would have had the chance to break the bank by joining another formation. Yet, he always remained faithful to the team that had selected him in the 6th round of the draft, 1998.
“I liked the team, I liked to play to the Canadian, then I do not see the need to go elsewhere. This is why I signed my contract before the opening of the free agent market, he stated in a long interview granted to the Journal. It is a matter of pride to have been part of this organization and have only played for this team.”
This longevity and his talent offensive allowed him to become one of the best of the glorious history of the Canadian. When one reminds him that he is second for points (first to those harvested in numerical superiority), and the third in league scoring among defenders on the team, one feels a certain pride at the other end of the wire.
“It’s special to be on this list. It is rewarding to see his name inscribed beside those of the legends of the team. They have all won a few Stanley cups… what I have not done,” said Markov, attached to Voskrenensk, in the suburbs of Moscow.
His statistics would have been even more impressive had he not missed almost two full seasons due to his severe injuries to the knees. Prolonged absences which, much more than her difficult divorce with Marc Bergevin, have led him to finish his career with only 10 games of the mythical plateau of 1000 games in the NHL.
“I would have liked to reach the 1000 matches, but there is nothing more I can do. Now, I accept my 990 games. I tell myself that if I had remained healthy, I would have played much more than 1000”, a-t-he stressed.
If he now accepts his fate, Markov has attempted a final push last summer by asking the agent Allan Walsh to find him a job in the NHL. A search that proved unsuccessful.
“There was no big thing. I got a few offers for professional testing. I really didn’t, there was nothing to be insured. So, I decided to finish my career in Russia”,-he told.
“A beautiful city”
Markov was only a white beak 21 years of age when he came to the training camp of the Canadian in the fall of 2000. He remembers the fear that dwelt there.
“Leave my country had been a difficult decision. Fortunately, there were a few Russian players in the team, which had helped me. There was also a Russian community in Montreal. It had facilitated my integration.”
Nevertheless, it is sufficiently fell in love with the city to get his canadian citizenship, in July 2010, and to spend time in the metropolis during off-seasons.
“Montreal is a beautiful city, especially in summer with its restaurants and parks. But now, there is construction and cones everywhere. The circulation became difficult,” he stressed.
Markov has given 16 years of his life in Canada and its supporters. How would he love that his last remember him?
“Everyone thinks that I am a person serious. This was true in the context of the work, when I was at the arena. But in the life of every day, I love to laugh and have fun”, he insisted.
A decision matured
41-year-old, Markov announced his retirement from hockey last week. In fact, it is rather his agent, who made the announcement, confirming the news to Russian media. True to himself, the back of the Canadian preferred to take his leave without fanfare.
Moreover, his decision was matured for a long time. It was already planned before donning the shirt of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the KHL, that it would be his final campaign.
“I discussed it with my family, but it is a decision which comes primarily from me. My wife, she would want me to play hockey until the end of my days”, has launched the defender, a smile in the voice.
“When playing hockey, this is what you do since more than 25 years, it is difficult to make the decision to stop. But I was ready.”, a-t-he added.
A fractured foot suffered from the first game of the season having made him miss a little more than a month of activity has confirmed that he had made the right choice.
Now that his hockey career is behind him, Markov wants to dedicate herself entirely to her family. To prove the seriousness of his approach, he has closed all the accounts he had on the social networks.
“With four children at home, I no longer have the time for that”
“By the way, Andrey, you’re at how many children in all? Five?”
“Yes… for now.”
A true tongue-in-cheek.