By Ian Oland and Brennin Weiswerda
Michal Kempny had a lot to say during a recent Czech language interview on the BKT Podcast.
The Stanley Cup-winning defenseman discussed the European Capitals’ decision to return home and Radko Gudas’s opinion that the NHL should cancel the rest of the suspended 2019-20 season.
“Initially me and [girlfriend Nicola Minarikova] were deciding between staying in America for a while longer or a journey back to the Czech Republic,” Kempny said as translated by RMNB’s Alexandra Petáková. “In the end, watching Trump’s speeches was one big depression after another. We’d always rather turn them off. We followed what was going on in the Czech Republic and then we decided – together with other guys in Washington – to make a run for it. But like I said, we waited for some time to see how the situation would unfold so we wouldn’t leave too early because we had no information from the club. We waited for a while and then we hightailed it.”
[Editor’s note: In the quote, Kempny was explaining how and when the couple returned to the Czech Republic and used Trump’s speeches as an example of how depressing the situation was in the United States, which is why they decided to return home. Kempny attended the Capitals’ Stanley Cup celebration at the White House in March 2019.]
According to an early April social media posts by Nicola, the two flew back to their home country around March 25 and stayed at their cottage in Český ráj. The two quarantined there and enjoyed nature. They eventually returned to Prague in mid-May.
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Here is a picture of me after 14 days at our cottage 🌲 (don’t mind the pimple from wearing a 😷😹) I was thinking about what is positive about this challenging time in quarantine. I am 1) appreciating the little things like working in a garden or having a fire pit 2) getting close to nature 3) having time to reflect and be creative 4) caring less about material things 5) having lot of time with my loved one. How about you? Can you think about something positive? #staysafeeveryone❤️
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Breathe in & breathe out 🙏🏻 I can’t wait for the moment when I see you all at the game after this 🏒 #staysafe
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Kempny also addressed Radko Gudas’s honest opinion on if the NHL season should resume. At a Czech golf tournament, Gudas revealed he was against finishing the season, but that he would still train to get back on the ice because it’s not his decision to make.
“I think we shouldn’t play when the whole world is canceling seasons,” Gudas said. “Hockey would be the only team sport trying to power through it like this. They won’t let us go to the Olympics so we won’t get injured, but they want to keep the NHL season running in these times. If we kept playing, our sport would be swimming against the current a bit.
“Money is money, it’s what currently makes the world go round,” Gudas added. “It’s a bit sad that they are willing to risk the health of so many players for money.”
“I think he’s not the only one, there are more guys like that,” Kempny said. “A lot of those guys have families, kids, some ill family members. And now imagine that they lock you in some hotel for a few months and you don’t know how it’s going to work, if your family can be there. So I think that’s why some guys are absolutely against it.”
The Gudases have three children including their oldest son Kvido, middle daughter Leontynka, and a new baby who was born during the preseason.
“As for me, I don’t have a family yet, I have a girlfriend and we can manage to stay apart for a time,” Kempny said. “If [the season] starts, it starts.”
What Kempny is going to struggle with is the experience potentially playing the postseason in a hub city.
“The biggest problem for me is playing without fans, that’s… when even was the last time we played without fans? Juniors? Nobody attended in juniors, there were a few hundreds of people,” Kempny said. “That would be weird. And I think America isn’t completely safe yet when it comes to what’s happening in the world now. I think the health of us players and everyone else is number one.
“And I’m curious, if they keep us in some two, four cities, what are we going to do there? I don’t know, I’m waiting, getting ready, and I’m chill about it so far.”
Translation by Alexandra Petáková/RMNB
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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