Veteran NHLer Peter Bondra retires, becomes GM of national Slovak team

“I kept it a secret for a long time. They will know overseas only after this press conference,” Bondra said, according to a report from the Slovak national hockey association. “I hope I can help Slovakia win another medal at the world championship.”

The 39-year-old Bondra’s contract as general manger runs through 2008, when the IIHF World Hockey Championship will be played in Halifax and Quebec City.

Bondra scored the decisive goal in the 4-3 victory over Russia at the 2002 world championship in Sweden that gave Slovakia the title.

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Bondra scored 503 goals and had 389 assists in 1,081 NHL games, mostly for the Washington Capitals. He also played for Ottawa Senators, Atlanta Thrashers and Chicago Blackhawks.

Bondra had five goals and 14 points in 37 games for the Blackhawks last season.