On January 27, 2015, after 18 National Hockey League seasons, forward Radek Dvorak announced his retirement from the game.
Drafted by Florida in the first round (tenth overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, Dvorak became the franchise’s first European-born first round draft choice. Dvorak played his first NHL season during the Panthers memorable playoff run in 1996, when the Cats became Eastern Conference Champions.
Dvorak notched 27 points (13-14—27) as a rookie in the regular season and recorded four points (1-3—4) in 16 postseason games. He scored his first NHL goal on November, 2, 1995 versus Philadelphia. Dvorak improved steadily over his next few seasons with Florida before being traded to the New York Rangers during the 1999-00 season.
The Tabor, Czech Republic native returned to Florida in 2007-08 a seasoned veteran. During his second stint with Florida he became the record holder for games played in a Panthers uniform (which would later be broken by Stephen Weiss) and played his 1,000th NHL game as a member of the Florida roster.
“It was an honor for me to play in the best league in the world for 18 seasons,” said Dvorak in a release from the NHLPA. “I would like to thank to all the organizations, coaches and teammates I played for or with. Also, thank you to my parents, wife and kids who have always supported me and helped me throughout my whole career. At last I would like to thank to my fans who believed in and followed me all these years.”
Having spent the majority of his career with Florida (1995-99 & 2007-11), Dvorak also played for the New York Rangers (1999-03), Edmonton Oilers (2003-06), St. Louis Blues (2006-07), Atlanta Thrashers (2010-11), Dallas Stars (2011-12), Anaheim Ducks (2012-13) and Carolina Hurricanes (2013-14). Dvorak played 1,260 games in the NHL, recording 590 points (227-363—590).
The 37-year old winger affectionately referred to by fans as “D-Vo,” ranks first among Panthers players all-time in shorthanded goals (16) and has played the second-most games in a Panthers uniform (613). In 613 games with Florida, Dvorak recorded 268 points (113-155—268).
His career went beyond just the NHL as his skills have been on display on the international stage as well. Dvorak represented the Czech Republic at the Winter Olympics (2002), World Cup (2004) and the World Championship where he was part of three gold-medal winning teams (1991, 2001 and 2005).
Dvorak resides in Boca Raton, Florida with his wife Irena and their two children, Adam and Alex.