Bruins C David Krejci to play in Czech Republic after 14 seasons with team

BOSTON — Boston Bruins centerman David Krejci will not re-sign with the team after playing 14 years in Boston and will instead return to his native Czech Republic to play in front of family, Krejci wrote in a statement released by the team Friday afternoon.

“At this point in my career and in my life I need to return to Czech Republic and play in front of my family who sacrificed so much to help me achieve my NHL dreams,” Krejci wrote of his decision.

“I want to play in front of my parents, brother and friends. I want my children to live where I grew up, spend time with so many Czech family members who love them and create lifelong memories.”

Krejci has been a pillar for the Bruins over the last decade-plus, serving as an assistant captain and manning the team’s second line for the better part of the last five years.

He was an integral part of three Boston squads that played their way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, 2013 and 2019, and he led the Bruins in playoff scoring when they captured the Cup in 2011 and when they fell just short against Chicago in 2013. His team-high 62 points in 2011 led the way for a Bruins squad that won their first title in 39 years.

>>>PREVIOUS: Bruins’ important offseason starts with 2 familiar faces

“The Bruins organization has always treated me with the utmost respect,” Krejci wrote Friday. “Obviously the 2011, 2013 and 2019 teams stick out, but truthfully I have loved every Bruins team i have been a part of.”

The 35-year-old centered Boston’s top lines for the first half of the last decade, serving as the pivot between players like Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and Jarome Iginla and leading the scoring charge for the contending Bruins. In recent years he was frequently flanked with Jake DeBrusk and a bevy of players on his right side.

When the Bruins acquired Taylor Hall at last season’s trade deadline, Krejci came alive again, netting 21 points in his final 16 regular-season games. His seven playoff assists in 2021 were third-most on the team.

His final goal as a Bruin came in Game 5 of Boston’s second-round series against the New York Islanders in last season’s playoffs. His first came as a 21-year-old rookie on February 26, 2008, at home against the Ottawa Senators. In total, he scored 215 goals for the Bruins, adding 515 assists for a total of 730 career points with Boston, the eighth-most in team history.

“In January of 2007 when I pulled the Black and Gold sweater on for the first time I was 20 years old and was almost 4,000 miles away from home. Since then, you have embraced me as a Bostonian,” Krejci wrote. “I have given everything that I have had to you and the Bruins, and over time, Boston has become a second home to me. I met my amazing wife Naomi here, and our two beautiful children call Boston home. This City and your support are so special to me.”

Over the course of 14 years with the team, Krejci amassed the seventh-most assists in Bruins’ history and played in the seventh-most games (962) of any player to don the Black and Gold. His number 46 is almost certain to be hung from the rafters at TD Garden.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW