Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nedvěd: "I will return to Liberec"

When his season ended back on March 16, there was speculation that 39-year-old Petr Nedvěd would retire.

"I've got a lot of time to think, give it some time. I'll see how I feel," he said at the time.

He is now confirming his intention to return for another season. "I will return to Liberec," he told Czech newspaper Sport.

Nedvěd defected from communist Czechoslovakia as a 16 year old while playing at an international Midget tournament in Calgary in January 1989.  He played a year for the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds before being drafted second overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 1990. He gained Canadian citizenship in 1993 and represented his adopted homeland at the 1994 Winter Olympics, while in a contract dispute with Vancouver, and earned a silver medal.

He first played in the Czech Extraliga, briefly, in 1997 while in another contract dispute, this time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He played 5 games with Sparta Praha that year and then played a full season with Sparta during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. He returned to Sparta yet again, in 2007-08, but after an unsuccessful attempt to return to the NHL with the New York Rangers in the fall of 2008, he signed with his hometown team, Bílí Tygři Liberec, where he has played ever since.

In 2010-11, as the team's captain, he led Liberec with 55 points in 45 games, a total that was third in the league. He added 10 points in a seven-game playoff series, in which Liberec was defeated by Slavia Praha.

"For us it's a good thing, because Petr had a great season for himself and for us," said Liberec general manager Ctibor Jech. "We're counting on him in all capacities: as a team captain and leader on and off the ice. We are pleased that he'll be staying with us."

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