One of the greatest netminders in the history of hockey, Dominik Hasek, will now play in the KHL, defending the goals of Spartak Moscow.
The 45-year-old player and the club signed a one-year deal on Monday.
"I am very pleased to join Spartak. It’s a great club where a lot of great stars played. It’s a challenge for me and I’m very interested,” RIA-Novosti news agency cited Hasek.
The Czech star, nicknamed the “Dominator”, will wear number 39 in the club.
"Sorry, I won’t speak in Russian today. I learned it at school. Maybe I’ll be ready to speak Russian in autumn [when the new KHL season kicks off], but for now I’ll stick to English,” he added.
The initiative of inviting the veteran player, who was an Olympic Champion at Nagano and is a two-time Stanley Cup winner, came from his countryman and Spartak coach, Milos Riha.
“Hasek’s move to Russia was a long one. He got the first proposal from me three years ago. I talked to his coach, but Dominik, unfortunately, was forced to decline it. In the second year, he had been thinking longer, but rejected the offer again, concentrating on doing everything to make Pardubice the champions of the Czech Republic. On the third attempt, he finally agreed,” Spartak coach told Sportbox.ru.
The legendary keeper retired from hockey after grabbing the Stanley Cup in 2008, but made a surprising return to the sport after a year-long absence.
He was the key player for Pardubice last season, helping his partners to lift the Czech Championship.
“There’s a 70 per cent contribution from Hasek in the championship title of Pardubice. I saw the championship finals – the hands of many well-known Czech hockey players were trembling when they saw the great and terrible "Dominator". And instead of scoring, the opponents shifted to the corner of the rink. Believe me; Dominik is as reliable in goals as before. The hands of our KHL rivals will also be shaking,” Milos Riha added.