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Andrei Markov, longtime Canadiens defenceman, retired from pro hockey

Longtime Montreal Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov won’t be making a return to the NHL.

The 41-year-old Markov reported his retirement from pro hockey on Thursday — a career that started and ended in Russia with 16 campaigns with Montreal in between.

Markov played 990 regular-season matches with the Canadiens between 2000 and 2017 before returning home to Russia to conclude his pro career.

Markov spent his final three years in the Kontinental Hockey League, suiting up for the last time in the 2019-20 season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Montreal selected Markov 162nd overall in 1998 after he showed his potential in Russia as a teenager playing for Voskresensk Khimik. Following a stint with Moscow Dynamo, Markov left home and made his Canadiens debut in 2010.

He went on to produce 119 goals and 572 points in a Habs uniform while being named an NHL All-Star twice (2008, 2009).

“Thank you for everything you’ve done for the Canadiens and congratulations on an incredible career, Andrei!,” the Canadiens posted on social media.

Markov, who averaged 23 minutes of ice time per match for his NHL career, anchored the Canadiens power play for years, paired with the likes of Sheldon Souray, Mark Streit or P.K. Subban.

He had a career-high 64 points in 78 games in the 2008-09 season before major injuries to his ankle (2009) and knee (2010) limited him to just 20 matches through the next two seasons.

Despite being a proud Russian who represented his home nation internationally, he became a Canadian citizen in July 2010 by taking the oath of citizenship at a ceremony in Montreal.

“I’m happy to be here and proud to be Canadian,” the soft-spoken star told reporters after he was sworn in.

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