Detroit Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek officially announced his retirement from the National Hockey League after 16 seasons.
Hasek leaves the NHL as one of the most important goaltenders the game has ever seen. From 1993 to 2001, The Dominator won six Vezina Trophies and became the first goalie since Jacques Plante (1962) to be named the league's Most Valuable Player. Hasek was also the first goalie ever to win consecutive Hart Trophies in 1997 and 1998.
"Today I'm feeling very happy and don't have any regrets," Hasek said at a news conference. "Sixteen years is a long time in life that has unfortunately gone by too fast."
"I don't feel today that I'm ready to compete on the highest level"
"Not because of the physical things, but because I need motivation every day. . . . Right now I don't feel it's there, and I don't want to disappoint anybody."
Hasek followed up his domination in the late 1990's by becoming the first European starting goaltender to win a Stanley Cup in 2002, setting a record with six shutouts in the playoffs.
This past season, Hasek won 27 games with a goals-against-average of 2.14, appearing in 41 games while he shared duties with Chris Osgood. In the playoffs, he appeared in just four games against the Nashville Predators in the first round en route to winning his second Stanley Cup.
In an interview with TSN' Off the Record, Hasek admitted that sitting for most of the playoffs was a frustrating experience.
"I was happy for everyone . I won't lie to you . On the other hand I was disappointed. I never got a chance to get back on the ice and help my teammates. But in the end of the day it's all about the team and we got the chance to drink from Stanley Cup again."
As Detroit celebrated, Hasek knew that his career had come to an end.
"When I was kissing the cup I was 90 per cent sure I was retiring," Hasek noted.
Detroit GM Ken Holland didn't try to persuade Hasek to return to the Red Wings for one more season.
"There was nothing to discuss," Holland said. "Dom was completely at peace with the decision that he had made."
"He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer. And one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play the game."
Hasek began his NHL career with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1990-91, appearing in five games. In 1992-93, he moved on to Buffalo where he enjoyed his greatest individual success.
But it wasn't until he joined the Red Wings for the 2001-02 season that he won the ultimate team prize, the Stanley Cup.
After the work stoppage in 2004-05, Hasek signed with the Ottawa Senators for the 2005-06 campaign, winning 28 games and losing just 10.
"I had a great first half of the year in Ottawa and I wanted to stick with the team and help them, but management felt a different way and they made a decision and at that time it was disappointing for me. But on the other hand it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, because my agent and the Red Wings got in touch again and in the end it worked so well."
Last year, he returned to the Red Wings for what would turn out to be his final stop on a 16-year journey.
His unconventional and unorthodox style of flopping around his crease and sprawling on his back to make a save changed the way goalies play their position and earned him a spot among hockey's all time greats.