Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Petr Buzek
Some of Petr Buzek's friends and teammates call him The Bionic Buzek, and with good cause. Selected 63rd overall in the 1995 Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars, Buzek had been a projected top-10 pick that year until a horrific car accident just three days before the draft nearly claimed his life.

Buzek had played his junior hockey in his hometown Jihlava in the Czech Republic. In 1994-95, he joined the Czech Extraliga and played 43 games for Dukla Jihlava. It was the night of June 3, 1995 which changed his life forever. Buzek suffered life-threatening injuries in a car accident. While driving home late at night he fell asleep at the wheel and drove in to a tree. Buzek's companion suffered a broken nose, but Buzek's injuries were much more severe. He was knocked unconscious with two broken legs, a shattered right kneecap, a broken wrist, fractured cheekbone, broken nose and a cracked forehead. "I didn't have any air bags or seat belts," Buzek recalled. "I was lucky to be alive." When he finally came to, almost three days later, one of the first things the doctors told him was to prepare for life in a wheelchair, which he said was the scariest moment of his life. It took almost a year of rehabilitation, but he fought his way back and managed to play in 67 games with the IHL's Michigan K-Wings. Buzek remains extremely grateful to the Dallas Stars, the team that drafted him. It was the Stars' organization that paid for the surgery that allowed him to return to play hockey. "They took a big gamble on me," Buzek said.

Buzek had been projected as a top-ten draft pick by Central Scouting in 1995, but that horrendous accident left him unselected until the Stars took a chance on him in the third round. The aftermath of the surgeries has left him playing with a plate and ten screws in his left leg, a plate and seven screws in his right ankle, two screws in his right knee and two screws in his left wrist. Through it all, he has not only recovered, but has gone on to become an NHL All-Star.

On June 25, 1999, Buzek was claimed in the Expansion Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers, which was a welcome move for the young Czech player, who finally had the chance to play in the NHL on a full-time basis, suiting up for 63 games. He also showed an offensive side to his game, scoring 19 points. The great season was capped by being selected to play in the mid-season All-Star Game. In 2000-01, Buzek was limited to just five games due to injuries.

Some of his other noted accomplishments include having played for the Czech Republic's Under-20 junior team at the 1995 World Junior Championships. Later that season, he played on the Under-18 team and was a tournament All-Star at the 1995 European Under-18 Junior Championships. He was also a member of the Czech national team that won a gold medal at the 2000 World Championships. When asked how he feels about all the attention surrounding the events of the accident and his comeback effect him, he says it doesn't bother him at all. "It is a pretty big story, Buzek noted. I am proud of my comeback." Severe cold bothers his pieced-together body, but Buzek says the hot, humid Atlanta summers are even more painful, so he takes the opportunity to return home to the Czech Republic where he visits with family and friends.

On December 18, 2001, Buzek was traded to the Calgary Flames, along with a conditional pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. In return, Atlanta received forward Jeff Cowan and the rights to defenseman Kurtis Foster.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1993-94 HC Dukla Jihlava Jr. CzRep-Jr. 3 0 0 0
1993-94 Czech Republic EJC-A 5 0 0 0 4
1994-95 HC Dukla Jihlava CzRep 43 2 5 7 47 2 0 0 0 2
1994-95 Czech Republic WJC-A 7 2 2 4 10
1994-95 Czech Republic EJC-A 5 2 2 4 10
1995-96 Michigan K-Wings IHL
1996-97 Michigan K-Wings IHL 67 4 6 10 48
1997-98 Dallas Stars NHL 2 0 0 0 2 +1
1997-98 Michigan K-Wings IHL 60 10 15 25 58 -13 2 0 1 1 17
1998-99 Dallas Stars NHL 2 0 0 0 2 0
1998-99 Michigan K-Wings IHL 74 5 14 19 68 -16 5 0 0 0 10
1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 63 5 14 19 41 -22
1999-00 Czech Republic WC-A 9 1 3 4 24 +6
2000-01 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 5 0 0 0 8 +2
2001-02 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 9 0 0 0 13 -4
2001-02 Chicago Wolves AHL 4 0 1 1 2 +3
2001-02 Calgary Flames NHL 32 1 3 4 14 +4
2002-03 Calgary Flames NHL 44 3 5 8 14 -6
2003-04 HC Sparta Praha CzRep 5 0 0 0 10
2004-05 HC Dukla Jihlava CzRep 34 0 2 2 38
2004-05 HC Chemopetrol Litvinov CzRep 7 0 2 2 6
2005-06 HC Slovan Bratislava Slovakia 12 0 0 0 28
NHL Totals 157 9 22 31 94


Played in NHL All-Star Game (2000) Missed entire 1995-96 due to injuries suffered in automobile accident, July, 1995. Claimed by Atlanta from Dallas in Expansion Draft, June 25, 1999.
Missed majority of 2000-01 due to neck injury vs. Anaheim, October 17, 2000. Traded to Calgary by Atlanta with Atlanta's 6th round pick (Adam Pardy) in 2004 NHL Draft for Jeff Cowan and the rights to Kurtis Foster, December 18, 2001. Loaned to Sparta (CzRep) by Calgary, October 20, 2003. Signed as a free agent by Jihlava (CzRep), September, 2004. Signed as a free agent by Litvinov (CzRep), January 9, 2005.
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