Back in June of 2008, Dominik Hasek retired from the NHL at age 43 for the second time after 16 seasons. At the press conference, he noted he lacked the motivation to continue playing at a high level — a level that earned him a treasure trove of honors including two Hart Trophies, six Vezina Trophies, two Stanley Cups and an Olympic gold medal.
A little over four years since that first retirement announcement, Hasek is set for another one, and this time it feels final. In an exclusive interview with iSport Hasek, 47, says it's unlikely he'll play again after failing to receive an offer from an NHL team.
From iSport (translated):
"I prepared, I wanted to play. But for what I was studying (return to the NHL), it did not work. I do not see that it has changed," he explained in a video interview for iSport.cz. "I wanted to do everything possible to get back to the NHL, but the other party did not feel like me. Finally I decided it's not worth it," said Hasek.
"It's very sad," Hasek told Sport. "But there is nothing you can do. I realized that it's time to retire."
In March of 2011, Hasek said he wanted to play one more year in the KHL, but no offers came his way. This past March, he stated that if he didn't receive an adequate contract by June, he would retire. Over the summer, with the talk of retired players like Mike Modano and Georges Laraque making comebacks as well, Hasek began training with Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga -- the team he played for in his youth -- in hopes of enticing offers from NHL teams.
Reportedly, two of the teams Hasek's camp had spoken with included the Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes, but the lockout and full AHL rosters at the moment put those discussions to a halt. "I see no reason why I would now suddenly be someone they want in the NHL," Hasek said.
Had there not been an NHL lockout, maybe a team brings him to training camp for PR or to create a competition among their netminders. Maybe. But knowing the kind of fitness freak the future first ballot Hall of Famer Hasek is, a trait that allowed him to play competitively until age 47, it wouldn't surprise us if he's found lacing them up again somewhere in Europe in the future.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy