NEW YORK (AFP) –
Dominik Hasek, a top goaltender who starred in the Czech Republic’s 1998 Olympic gold medal run and twice won National Hockey League titles with Detroit, announced his retirement Tuesday at age 47.
Hasek had called it quits before but made a comeback and was trying to make a deal to play in the US minor leagues with the NHL shut down in a lockout, but he found no takers, in part because he sat out last season.
“I understand their reasons,” Hasek said. “I am 47 and I haven’t played hockey for the entire season.”
Four-time Olympian Hasek last played in 2010-2011 for Moscow Spartak.
The “Dominator” who once foiled NHL superstars now wants to leave the sport behind for good.
“I have to go on and find new motivation,” he said. “I would like to do something creative, something completely new. The only thing I know is that it won’t be in hockey. Coaching or working as a manager is not the thing I would like to do.”
Hasek was a six-time winner of the Vezina Trophy as the best NHL goaltender in a season and won back-to-back NHL Most Valuable Player awards in 1997 and 1998 during 15 NHL seasons.
At the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the first to feature NHL players representing their homelands, Hasek led the Czechs to a gold medal victory over Russia after a memorable shootout triumph over Canada in the semi-finals.
Hasek played for Chicago for parts of two seasons before being traded to Buffalo, where he spent nine seasons before being traded to Detroit in 2001. He backstopped the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup title in 2002 with six playoff shutouts.
Hasek retired after the NHL Final but sat out only one season before making a comeback with Detroit, then signing with Ottawa for the 2005-2006 campaign before playing two final seasons with Detroit, serving as a backup netminder on Detroit’s 2008 Stanley Cup winners.
In all, Hasek won 389 games in 735 NHL starts, 81 of them shutouts.
Hasek made a comeback at 44 with the Czech club Pardubice, helping the team win its league title in 2009, setting up a final season in Moscow, where he had a 2.48 goals-against average over 46 games.