Free agent forward Ales Hemsky
is putting aside injury concerns to play a little inline hockey. (Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
Ales Hemsky had no trouble blowing off the Czech Republic when the national team asked the pending free agent to go to Belarus for the 2014 World Championship last month.
"I don't have a contract so I can't risk it," the Senators' winger said. "I've been hurt the last few years. It's the first year I've been pretty good, so I can't risk it."
Apparently endangering future earnings isn't as big a concern when Hemsky's dad is behind the bench. It was announced today that Ales will join coach Petr Hemsky and the Czech Republic team competing for the 2014 Inline World Championship in Pardubice this week.
Hemsky has played at the Inline Worlds on several occasions, most recently in 2012. According to the IIHF, his addition improves an already-strong squad that won its first and only Inline gold medal in Pardubice in 2011. The Czechs open the tournament tonight against the U.S.
Inline isn't no-touch, so Hemsky faces the very real risk of suffering an injury that could cost him millions in free agency. Still, it's a huge boost for the sport to have such a high-profile athlete laying it on the line at this event. Here's hoping he leads the Czechs to a strong silver-medal showing.