Aleš Hemský, the workhorse Czech winger who spent 15 years in the National Hockey League, today announced his retirement from pro hockey at age 36, after a concussion prevented him from playing for the past three years.
The 13th pick in the 2001 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers, Hemský debuted for the Oilers in 2002, where he would spend 11 of his 15 pro seasons, emerging quickly as a top-line winger that would become a key member of the squad that came within a game of winning the 2006 Stanley Cup. His next eight seasons saw the Oilers missing the playoffs and falling into obscurity, while Hemský’s numbers fell as well due to recurring injuries. Hemský was dealt to Ottawa at the 2014 trade deadline, spending just 20 games with the Senators before joining the Dallas Stars for 2014-15, spending three seasons in Texas. Signing with the Montréal Canadiens in 2017, Hemský played just seven games before being felled by a concussion, which would serve as his final time playing pro hockey. Hemský also played for Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga during the 2004-05 and 2013 lockouts, winning the Czech league title in 2005 and being named Playoff MVP.
Hemský made his national team debut with the Junior squad at the 2002 World Junior Championships on home ice in Pardubice, finishing seventh. His national team debut came in the star-studded, NHL-strike-laden 2005 Worlds in Vienna, where Hemský notched two goals in seven games en route to World Championship Gold. An established star of the Narodnitym, Hemský would suit up at two more Worlds (2009, 2012), two Olympics (2006, 2014) and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, winning a pair of Bronze medals at the 2006 Games and 2012 Worlds. also played for the Czech inline team, playing at the 2008 and 2012 World Championships.
For all of his national team appearances over his 14 year Narodnitym career, Hemský surprisingly only won the IHLC twice – first in 2005 in the lead-up to his first World Championship, and again in 2006 at the Turin Olympics Quarterfinal. We wish Aleš and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!