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Krejci keeps door open on playing for Czechia at 2024 Worlds

David Krejci Czechia David Krejci - The Canadian Press

Newly retired forward David Krejci has not closed the door on playing in Europe and representing Czechia at the 2024 IIHF World Championships.

Krejci, 37, announced his retirement from the NHL on Monday after playing 16 seasons with the Boston Bruins but the World Championship being held in his home country is still on his mind.

"This year the World Championship is in Prague, my hometown, and I've never played there," Krejci told reporters via Zoom on Tuesday. "It's something that's in the back of my head. If at some point around Christmas I feel like [doing it], I'll play a couple of months somewhere in Europe to get ready for the World Championship. I'll get it done in two weeks and then come home.

"It's something I'm thinking about but I'm definitely not going to play somewhere the whole year, if I keep going it'll be after New Years."

The 6-foot centre was drafted 33rd overall in the 2004 draft and recorded 231 goals and 786 points in 1,032 career games in the NHL. After the 2020-21 pandemic shortened season, Krejci opted to return to Czechia to play for Olomouc HC of Czech Extraliga for the 2021-22 season and took part in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

He returned to the NHL last season, recording 16 goals and 56 points in 70 games and helped the Bruins to an NHL-record 65 wins and 135 points en route to a Presidents' Trophy. However, the team failed to live up to expectations, falling to the Florida Panthers in seven games during the first round.

"I retired from the NHL because I know my body can't take the whole season," said Krejci. "I have things I would have to get done, which would involve surgeries and at my age I don't want to do that anymore."

The 2024 IIHF World Championship is set to take place in Czechia from Prague and Ostrava beginning in May.

Krejci has represented Czechia at three Winter Olympic Games (2010, 2014, 2022), recording two goals and seven points in nine tournament appearances.

He also represented his country four times at the IIHF World Championships, leading Czechia to two bronze medals in 2012 and 2022 and also helped his country to a bronze medal at the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship in North Dakota.