Will Hasek Dominate the Czech Republic?

For 16 seasons, Dominik Hasek’s unorthodox flopping style and cat-like reflexes led his teams to victory, including an Olympic gold medal in Nagano, Japan in 1998 and two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, he won six Vezina Trophies as the NHL’s best goalie and two Hart Trophies as the player judged most valuable to his team.

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Now 54 years old, “The Dominator” may be setting his sights on politics, considering a run for president of the Czech Republic.

President Hasek?

When asked if he would consider running for president of the Czech Republic, Hasek had a simple answer, “Why not?”

“Now I have my job, which I really love and want to do it to the (fullest). But what will be in two (or) three years? And then I’ll decide. Everything is possible,” said one of the best goalies alive and one of the best ever to play the game.

Goaltender Dominik Hasek
Goaltender Dominik Hasek played for the Blackhawks, Sabres, Red Wings and Senators. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

“At the same time, I like to do things that are responsible. I have no doubt that the office of the President is very responsible, so if I were to take it from this side, I would (have to) be excellent. But the president must have a number of other qualities, so we’ll see.”

Miloš Zeman is the current president of the country but due to term limits is not allowed to run again.

What’s He up to Now?

Hasek owns and manages an energy drink company by the name Smarty. He’s also still active with the Buffalo Sabres Foundation and Hasek’s Heroes. The latter provides underprivileged children with hockey equipment, ice time and coaching.

Once a student of the game, he’s now a student of politics, claiming to study three hours a day. He spoke in May at the Million Moments for Democracy rally demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Marie Benesova.

A National Hero

In 1998, the Olympics were Hasek’s stage. The Hall of Fame netminder became an instant national hero by backstopping the Czech Republic team to a 2-1 shootout victory over Canada and then a 1-0 blanking of the Russians en route to a gold medal. It was an emotional, remarkable run that catapulted him to new levels of fame.

Hasek backstopped the Sabres for nine seasons. (THW Archives)

After the game, the Czech team flew to Prague for a victory celebration in the Old Town Square. A raucous crowd of 150,000 people greeted the team and their star goaltender. Hasek compared the adrenaline-pumping feeling to 1989 when the Czechs celebrated the end of the Communism dominion over their country. Flags were waving. Music was blaring. It was a wild time. They chanted, “Hasek to the Castle!!” Since the Czech president’s office is located in Prague Castle, the cheer was a nod to Hasek running for president. Later, Hasek called Vaclav Havel, the president and jokingly told him that his job was not in jeopardy.

Retiring with Honors

Dominik Hasek
Hasek had his number retired by the Sabres. (Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE)

In 2008, Hasek retired from the NHL, five days after winning his second Stanley Cup with the Red Wings. He said he lacked the motivation for another season in the NHL. Later he received the two prestigious honors–the Czech president’s golden honorary medal and he was inducted into Czech Hockey Hall of Fame.

In Jan. 2015, the Buffalo Sabres retired Hasek’s No. 39 jersey prior to a game against the Red Wings. He became the seventh Sabres’ jersey to be retired in Sabres history. Two years later, he was named one of the ‘100 Greatest NHL Players‘ in history.

One can only imagine Hasek as the president of the Czech Republic. It’s likely he’d block any bill that came near him. Or would it be more likely he’d flop on issues? Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see if his success on the ice translates to politics.