Ice hockey legend Dominik Hasek, 41, signs one-year contract with Detroit

01-08-2006

You might get the impression that the great Czech ice hockey goaltender Dominik Hasek never wants to hang up his skates. Six months after his 41st birthday, the Pardubice born player has just signed a new, one-year contract with Detroit Red Wings, a club close to his heart.

Dominik Hasek, photo: CTKDominik Hasek, photo: CTK Dominik Hasek, nicknamed the Dominator, is regarded by many as the greatest European goaltender of all time, and has won the NHL's Vezina Trophy for best goalie six times. He was also one of the stars of the Czech team whose gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics led to scenes of euphoria here in the Czech Republic.

Hasek's dream of winning the Stanley Cup was realised with Detroit Red Wings in 2002; soon afterwards he announced he was retiring after a very successful career, at the age of 37.

But he had a change of heart and re-signed with Detroit a year later (though that season was scuppered by injury). The NHL didn't play the following season due to a lockout, and in 2005-2006 Hasek played for the Ottawa Senators, who didn't keep him on at the end of the season.

Dominik Hasek, photo: CTKDominik Hasek, photo: CTK Now, in a remarkable turn of events, Dominik Hasek is back at Detroit at the incredible age of 41. He explains how that came about.

"When Ottawa decided on a different route I was more or less decided that I would retire from hockey...I didn't expect that I would get a call from the team where I experienced an incredible 2002. So when the Red Wings phoned I said to myself: you don't turn down an offer like that. I instantly decided that I would play for Red Wings again."

By the way, Dominik Hasek isn't the only sportsman in the family with longevity. His brother Martin, who has also represented the Czech Republic, is still playing for Sparta Prague football team, two months short of his 37th birthday.

01-08-2006