The Truth is Finally Told about Hasek

A local Detroit TV station (WDIV Channel 4) today showed an interview with Detroit Red Wing GM Ken Holland where Holland set the record straight on Detroit Red Wing Dominic Hasek abruptly walking away from hockey in Detroit for the rest of this season, and perhaps for good.

On January 9th of this year, Hasek approached Ken Holland and told him that he will no longer accept a pay check from the Red Wings because he felt that his injuries were keeping him from contributing to the team’s success. Hasek was frustrated over a nagging groin injury that had sidelined him since November. Holland talked about what a class act Hasek is to hand back $3 million of his $6 million contract when, under the terms of his contract, he was entitled to the full $6 million whether he was injured or not.

Personally, I think Hasek is an eccentric who demands perfection of himself. His off ice workouts are notoriously grueling. I’ve heard through a Red Wing physical therapist that at a Red Wing practice after Hasek had initially recovered from the groin injury last fall, the Wings couldn’t put the puck past him. The Red Wings smiled, figuring he was ready to come back. Instead, Hasek skated off the ice shaking his head saying that there’s something wrong. The Red Wing players and coaches were baffled.

I know a lot of folks have bashed Hasek, calling him selfish and a mercenary, who came out of retirement to take the money and run. I guess many of us were wrong about Hasek.

I’m trying to think of other athletes who have given their salaries back to their team because they were disappointed with their ability to contribute to the team. Right now, I’m drawing a blank. Can anyone here identify any athlete in any sport that has refused his salary the way Hasek did?