MOSCOW – Former Russian national team forward Alexei Morozov hangs up his skates. He announced his retirement on Sunday.
Most recently the 37-year-old played for CSKA Moscow where his contract was terminated during the off-season after an injury-plagued first year below the expectations.
“I took the decision for myself some time ago on vacation. I already had the decision in my head and can now announce it: I decided to end my career as a hockey player,” Morozov told R-Sport. “It’s a deliberate decision. I don’t want to move from club to club, running and looking for something. I have never done that in my career and don’t want to do that now. Therefore I decided that it would be better for me to end my career.”
Before returning to his hometown of Moscow in 2013, Morozov had only played professional hockey for three clubs. He played his first season in the Russian Superliga with Krylia Sovietov Moscow (“Soviet Wings”) as a 17-year-old and also toured though North America with the team in the now-defunct IHL.
A first-round draft pick in 1995, Morozov left for the Pittsburgh Penguins as a 20-year-old and played for the team for seven years before returning to Russia during the 2004/2005 lockout. He went to Ak Bars Kazan where he would eventually play for nine years.
It was his most successful era. Coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov formed a high-scoring unit with Morozov, Danis Zaripov and Sergei Zinoviev that would later also play together at World Championships.
In his most successful season Morozov collected 100 points (36 goals, 64 assists) in 67 games in the 2006/2007 season and won three championships and one IIHF Continental Cup with Ak Bars Kazan.
Morozov was voted Best Player and onto the All-Star Team when Russia hosted the 2007 IIHF World Championship in Moscow and Mytishi. He scored eight goals and had 13 points in Russia’s bronze medal campaign. In 2008 and 2009 Morozov won back-to-back World Championship titles with the Russian national team – it was the first World Championship gold in 15 years for Russia.
Between 2007 and 2011 Morozov has been Russia’s national team captain at World Championships and Olympics and between 2007 and 2014 he captained his club teams Ak Bars Kazan and CSKA Moscow.
Morozov represented Russia in seven World Championships and two Olympic Winter Games – in Nagano 1998 where Russia won silver and in Vancouver 2010. In 62 games at World Championships and Olympics, Morozov scored 23 goals and had 46 points.
Morozov has no plans for the future yet but now as the announcement is done he would like to stay in hockey.
“I’m interested in staying and working in hockey. I know a lot and have collected a lot of experience over the years. If there will be interesting proposals, I’ll be happy to consider them,” Morozov said.