Former Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny was waived by the Seattle Kraken for contract termination purposes last Thursday. The 32-year-old 2018 Stanley Cup champion cleared waivers the next day, allowing him to sign anywhere he pleased.
We now know his next destination. Kempny signed a two-year contract with HC Sparta Praha in his native Czechia.
Kempny will return to the Czech Extraliga after spending six years in the NHL with the Caps and Chicago Blackhawks. The veteran blueliner split his last season in North America between the Caps and the AHL’s Hershey Bears. He signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Kraken this past summer but instead of playing more AHL hockey, decided to ask for the mutual contract termination.
“We’ve been waiting for Michal’s arrival since the summer, when we agreed in case his engagement in the NHL didn’t work out,” HC Sparta Praha’s sports manager Jaroslav Hlinka said in the press release via a Google Translation. “We’re very happy that we remained his first choice. He’s a huge addition to our defense.”
Kempny will not be the only former NHLer nor the only former Capital playing for the Prague-based squad. Milan Jurcina also mans the backend for the team. They join Vladimir Sobotka, Dominik Simon, and David Kase as some other familiar names.
The rearguard was already inside the team’s O2 arena Sunday to watch them take on BK Mladá Boleslav from the stands. He revealed that he suffered a concussion very early in his tenure within the Kraken organization which helped prompt the return to his homeland.
“It wasn’t an overnight decision,” Kempny said via Google Translation. “We addressed this possibility on an ongoing basis. It didn’t work out the way I imagined overseas. I basically only played one game there, got concussed in the second one and haven’t played since. At the beginning of the season, they immediately sent me to the farm. I didn’t want to be in the position I was in last year. My family and I decided to go back.
Kempny has 272 prior games of experience in the top Czech pro league. This will be his first season with HC Sparta Praha.
“After seven years abroad, I am returning to where it all began,” Kempny said. “One of my requirements was to play for a team with the highest ambitions. This is something I really like. We will subordinate everything to success in order to achieve what we all want. And that is to win the title. I’m really looking forward to the whole trip.”
Good luck, Michal!
Screenshot via HC Sparta Praha
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