David Krejci leaving Bruins to play in Czech Republic

NHL profile photo on Boston Bruins player David Krejci, from Czech Republic, at a game against the Calgary Flames in Calgary, Alta. on Fri., Feb.21, 2020. (Larry MacDougal/CP)

David Krejci, who spent his entire 14-year NHL career playing for the Boston Bruins, has decided to play in his native Czech Republic instead of the NHL next season.

“Since the end of the season, as I have thought about my future, it has become clear that I need to make a difficult decision for my family and I,” Krejci, 35, said in a statement shared by the Bruins on social media. “At this point in my career and life I need to return to the Czech Republic and play in front of my family who have sacrificed so much to help me achieve my NHL dreams.”

With his six-year, $43.5-million contract expiring on Wednesday, this summer was setting up to be a natural time to pause and think about his future. Upon Boston’s playoff exit this spring, it was made clear by both player and management that a patient approach would be taken in terms of how to proceed.

Krejci’s time with the Bruins organization dates back to 2004, when he was drafted in the second round (63rd overall). Since making his debut during the 2006-07 season, Krejci has registered 215 goals, 515 assists, and 730 points through 962 career regular season games.

“The Bruins organization has always treated me the utmost respect. I am so thankful for my teammates, the trainers and support staff, coaches and management who have allowed me to be a part of so many great teams,” Krejci continued in the statement. “Obviously the 2011, 2013, and 2019 teams stick out, but truthfully I have loved every Bruins team I been a part of.”

He was a massive contributor to the Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship in 2011, tallying 12 goals and 23 points in 25 games en route to hoisting the Cup, and was also a key driver during Boston’s Cup Final runs in 2013 and 2019.

Krejci concluded his statement by calling himself a “a Bruin forever.”

“This is not goodbye, I will not be a stranger,” he wrote. “I will be a Bruin forever. I will see you at the TD Garden soon, and I will always bleed Black and Gold.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.