Illustration photo – Columbus hockey forward Jakub Voráček (pictured on June 28, 2022).
Columbus (USA) – Hockey forward Jakub Voráček, who has been sidelined for a long time due to repeated concussions, was traded by Columbus to Arizona for goaltender Jon Gillies and a pick in the 6th round of this year's draft. The 33-year-old student from Kladno last played for the Blue Jackets on November 4 against Colorado in a duel played in Tampere and a month later announced that he probably won't play again this season.
“Of course I will try my best to try to get back, but it can be a really long process. But at the moment, I don't really see the possibility of jumping back in the near future. But I will do everything in my power to get back on the ice,” said Voráček at the press conference at the time, who still has an eight-year contract worth a total of 66 million dollars until next season.
Voráček managed to play only 11 games this season with a balance of six points per goal and five assists. The 2010 world champion was not cleared by doctors to return to hockey after a game in Tampere, where he scored in a 3-6 loss to Colorado, but was hit in the face with a high stick by Dryden Hunt in the third period. On the second day in the rematch in Finland, Voracek was already missing from the Ohio team.
Voracek returned to Columbus, which drafted him in the 1st round in 2007 as the seventh player in the order, after ten years in Philadelphia the year before last July. Last year, he scored 62 points on six goals and 56 assists in 79 games for the Blue Jackets, making him the team's most productive player.
In December, he did not accept the possibility of an early end to his career, which was speculated about. “I can't quit. I still have a valid contract here and I'd like to keep it. If it works, I'll be happy. Otherwise, it's up to the doctors. If the doctors give me permission, I'll definitely try. And we'll see how it goes,” he said .
In total, during his career in the NHL, he collected 1058 starts in the regular season for the Blue Jackets and Flyers and 806 points (223+583). Among the Czech hockey players, only Jaromír Jágr and Patrik Eliáš were better. Out of 49 duels in the elimination battles for the Stanley Cup, Voracek added 28 points (9+19).
The 29-year-old American Gillies worked at the Arizona farm in Tucson. In the NHL, he has 32 games for Calgary, St. Louis and New Jersey.