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Czech hockey player recalls time he foiled bombing of a Prague subway station

Jaroslav Cesky is a Czech ice hockey forward currently playing on a temporary contract for the Edinburgh Capitals of the EIHL. After the Capitals' captain, Martin Cingel, went down with an injury, they reached out to Cesky, a true hockey journeyman that's enjoyed an 11-year career in America, France, and the UK, to replace him.

Naturally, a guy with that sort of résumé is going to have some stories, and Cesky's no exception. In introducing himself to the good people of Edinburgh, Cesky shared the story from back when he was 24. This one time, he tackled and subdued a crazed man that stabbed a police officer to death on his way to blowing up a Prague subway station.

Seriously. From the Edinburgh News:

“It was 6pm on a Friday, the day before my birthday,” recalled Cesky. “A guy with a knife started throwing explosives in the subway station, and there was a noise like someone was shooting a gun. Everyone was running away and, as I turned round, I saw him stab one of the passengers.

“There had been a thousand people there and suddenly there was nobody. I saw two cops and told them to come over, they had guns but didn’t take them out and suddenly one of the cops was stabbed. A female officer was left holding her club. I got over there and grabbed the guy and held him to the ground, and the two of us managed to get handcuffs on him.”

It doesn't end there. As Cesky held the man down, he was sprayed in the face with some sort of substance from a plastic tube. The tube would later turn out to be an activation device for explosives found at the scene -- enough to destroy the entire Subway station.

As for the officer, she died, and the result of her death was a complete change to how Czech police are trained to deal with these sorts of incidents. One assumes it includes drawing your weapon, rather than approaching the stabby man without it.

The bomber committed suicide in prison two weeks later.

And Cesky received the Czech Republic's Medal of Honor for Heroism, but in typical hockey player fashion, he didn't make a big deal of it. In fact, he didn't even stick around to accept it.

"I was supposed to receive it from President Vaclav Havel, but my parents collected it for me because I had returned to the United States to study.”

The takeaway: For any hockey fans worried that Cesky might not have what it takes to replace their captain, um, I think we can table that concern.

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