Former Calgary Flames defenceman Ladislav Smid has now left the NHL to join a Czech League. He has been on injured reserve this entire season and half of last season from a neck injury.
Ladislav Smid spent the final season of his contract with the Calgary Flames on LTIR (long-time injured reserve). He’s had multiple concussions and has needed two neck surgeries which kept him off the ice this season. It also kept him off the ice for a lot of his time last season as well.
Back in September, Smid told Calgary post-media that he had no intentions of retiring soon.
"“I’d like to be out there,” Smid said. “I want to help the team. But it is what it is. It’s your health. It’s not like I’m retiring. But for this year, I’m going to have to sit out. It’s obviously hard. But it’s not a decision we made overnight. We talked the whole summer. It wasn’t just me deciding it, it was doctors. I heard so many different opinions so we kind of made the decision together.”"
After playing 583 NHL games, Smid will return back home to the Czech Republic where he’ll play for Liberac of the Czech Republic League. They actually have an entire section on the Smid signing, but it is all in Czech aka I can’t read a single word. I tried putting it on google translate, but we all know how that probably went.
This was Smid’s final year on a contract with the Calgary Flames, but it will be nice for him to return home and at least be able to play hockey again, after many injury scares.
"“It’s so … cool,” says Ladislav Smid.“Not only to go home again, where my family and friends are, to play for the team that really raised me for the NHL. But to be able to play at all. Anywhere. For anybody.“Very happy. Really excited. I grew up there. Had so many good coaches. I’m so thankful they’re giving me this opportunity.“And I haven’t played for a year and a half. I’m sure it’s gonna take me some time. You can practice all you want but nothing substitutes for a game.”“When you hear the doctor say ‘Laddy, you can go out there and play again …’ it’s hard to put into words. There’s such a sense of a relief.“There’s always going to be a little bit of risk. But after I talked to my family, looked in the mirror and talked to myself. I always wanted to try.“I know how my neck should feel. I’m not going to risk too much. I have a young family. But if everything’s fine, I feel good and I can be a factor out there, I’d like to play a couple more years.”"
Smid’s old number, #15, isn’t in use at the moment. So we can probably assume what number he’ll be going with.
Fun fact, but I actually met and talked to Smid at Cowboys (a club in Calgary) once. That was weird. But I’m happy for him! He may be leaving the NHL, but at least he’ll be in a place that wants him and he’ll be doing the thing he loves most.