By Jaroslav Modry
Hello readers, welcome back to my Insider Blog.
Since writing for THN.com last season, I have moved back to the Czech Republic where I am playing for Liberec, the same team I played for during the NHL lockout.
Although I had some NHL teams interested in my services over the summer, Liberec gave me a unique opportunity to come back to my homeland and take on a leadership role for a team that came close to a championship last season, but wanted more experience on the blueline.
It was very special to be part of the NHL for so many years and it is still the ultimate hockey league to play in, but at this point in my career it is nice to come back home where things are more stable. I have three children now, so having to move around a lot isn’t good, as I don’t want to take them from one school to another. The hockey is different in the Czech Republic, but having grown up here it’s special and I am enjoying myself.
The funny thing is, in the summer I had originally only gone to the Czech Republic for a vacation and to see my mother and brother. I didn’t even have my hockey equipment with me when Liberec approached me, so I had to have it sent from North America!
My family and I live in Prague, so my children can go to a very good international school. Liberec is one hour away from Prague, so I am making that sacrifice and commuting to work. We have several former NHLers on our team, including my friend Petr Nedved, who joined us after his tryout with the New York Rangers. Sometimes Petr and I will carpool together from Prague.
Speaking of Prague, the town was very excited to have Tampa Bay and the Rangers play here at the beginning of the NHL season and I received a lot of positive feedback from people. I got to play in London last year as a member of the Los Angeles Kings and it was a unique and special experience. I think it’s great for the NHL to reach out to Europe the way it has.
As part of my leadership role, I talk to our coach and GM and I really feel appreciated here. Sometimes the young guys on the team ask me about the NHL, but they are also shy, so I will go out of my way to talk to them.
As for my team this season, we struggled early, which is unusual. It is part of growing as team, however and I believe we are on the right path now.
Born in Ceske-Budejovice of the former Czechoslovakia, defenseman Jaroslav Modry returned to his native Czech Republic to play for Liberec after 725 NHL games. Drafted in the ninth round (179th overall) by the Devils in 1990, Modry played for N.J., Ottawa, Atlanta, Dallas, L.A. and Philadephia during his NHL career.