When he announced in the summer of last year that he was quitting hockey, everyone took it as a foregone conclusion, but they wished he would continue playing. “It’s been brewing in my head for a long time,” he said at the time. He was about to join the club HC Samson České Budějovice, which was founded by former NHL player Martin Hanzal. In the team, he was also supposed to meet René Vydarény. “I didn’t want to imitate a couple of athletes who announced leaving the scene and then coming back. That’s not my style,” claimed Novotný. In October, he signed a contract with a club from the South Bohemian metropolis. Originally, it was supposed to be a relief, but in the end his role lasted until the end of the season. He started for Budějovice after 19 years, in a sold-out Budvar arena against a rival from Hradec Králové. Before returning to the České Budějovice club, he entered the scorer’s list on January 25, 2002. His next goal success did not come until October 29 last year in Olomouc, where he participated in a 5:2 victory.
But now it looks like Novotný will not appear on the extra-league scene in the next season. “Now I really can’t imagine that I would continue to play,” reveals the 2010 world champion. But what is certain is that the door to Motor is still open.
But in mid-October, the management’s pressure on the native of Jindřichov Hradec bore fruit. Novotný signed with Budějovice. Originally, it was supposed to be a contract for individual matches. In the end, the former representative played a respectable 34 duels in the regular season, in which he shone with four goals and four assists. He then added ten games in the playoffs, where he scored and assisted once. The engine in the semi-final series was not enough for Sparta Prague and lost 1:4 to them. The former striker of Buffalo, Washington and Columbus still managed to win a bronze medal.
He proved to be more than a valuable player for his team. His valuable experience greatly contributed to this success. As a player with experience in the NHL, KHL and Switzerland, he helped cement the collective in the cabin, which many players highly regarded him for. On the ice, his strengths again included winning face-offs, in which he maintained a high success rate.
Novotný has a huge list of interesting engagements and experiences in his career register. In 2010, he became world champion in Germany, the following two years with the national team were also successful – he won bronze. In total, he participated in eight world championships. At the 2013 World Cup, Alois Hadamczik appointed him captain of the team. He participated in the Olympic Games in Sochi a year later. In 2001, he was selected by Buffalo in the NHL draft. He played for three teams in his NHL career. In 2014, he was the captain of Lv Prague, then playing in the KHL, with whom he was within reach of the title. In the seventh decisive match, however, Magnitogorsk was more successful. Before returning to the Czech Republic, he last worked in Switzerland at Ambri-Piotta. He bounced back for two matches in his native country in the 2018/2019 season, when he played two duels for Pilsen.