Hockey legend Dominik Hašek announces retirement

Dominik Hašek, photo: CTK

The legendary Czech hockey goalie Dominik Hašek has announced his retirement. A year and a half since his last match, played in Russia, the 47-year-old Olympic champion and two-time Stanley Cup winner had been hoping for yet another stint in the NHL. But on Tuesday, Dominik Hašek said that since no offer had come from overseas, it was best to call time on his career. RP spoke to the star goalie Dominik Hašek, soon after he announced his decision.

Dominik Hašek,  photo: CTK
“I was preparing to play in the NHL but unfortunately there was no team who wanted me. I was in touch with a few teams and we were discussing the possibilities but at the end of the day, they said no. So I decided to leave my gear in the garage.”

Is that possibility of you returning to the NHL – after the lockout – is that over for good or are you still hoping you might hear from one team or another?

“It seems like it’s over. I was in touch with several teams – or my agent was – and I didn’t even ask for an NHL contract, I was asking to play in the minors for a few weeks or months to make sure I was good enough. I just asked for a chance to play in North America and make it to the NHL. But there was no team interested; they were asking about the age, about the fact that I haven’t played for a year, and so on. I thought we were close with one or two teams but unfortunately, it didn’t happen.

“I don’t expect somebody to call me in the next two or three weeks or a month or so. You know, I’m ready. I’ve been preparing for eight months nearly every day, and over the last two months I was on the ice so I’m well prepared. But right now, my equipment is in the garage. But let me put it this way: if someone calls tomorrow, I’m going the next day. But I don’t really expect that to happen.”

You said it was not motivating enough for you to play in Europe but many Czech fans would love to see you in the Czech extraliga. Why did you reject this?

Dominik Hašek,  photo: Dan4th Nicholas,  CC 2.0 license
“Because my sole motivation was to make it to the NHL. That was my dream, that was what I’ve been preparing for since last December. Even if I played well here in the Czech Republic, I don’t see this would be the right move on my way to the NHL at my age. I needed to play in North America where everybody from the NHL could see me, and I don’t think playing here would get me there. So that’s why I decided not to play anymore.”

People are of course wondering what your next move will be. You said you wanted to do something creative – what kind of career would you consider?

“That’s a good question and I wish I knew what I’m going to do every day but I don’t. I don’t see myself as a coach or a manager or an agent so I will look around and see. But right now, I don’t have an answer for you.”