Hemsky 'lucky' after assault

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

Ales Hemsky has managed to put the scare of what happened to him last December in the Czech Republic behind him, but the scars from a vicious attack remain.

It's those scars, on the left side of Hemsky's neck, that have had people asking what happened to the young Edmonton Oilers forward throughout training camp.

After declining comment for several days, Hemsky yesterday described what he characterized as an unprovoked attack by an unknown assailant in which his neck was slashed by a broken glass in a Pardubice night club.

"I'm lucky. I know I'm lucky," Hemsky said.

Hemsky, 22, who was playing for HC Moeller during the NHL lockout, said he was assaulted while out for a "couple of beers" and dinner with friends on a social night out before Christmas.

Hemsky says he didn't know or speak to his assailant and there was no altercation before the attack, which occurred near midnight.

The man fled the scene and no arrests were made. Hemsky was treated at emergency, receiving "10 or 15 stitches" to close his wounds.

"I just got hit. I didn't see the guy," Hemsky said.

"I'd been there about five minutes . . . It just happened. I didn't know the guy. I got my stitches and went home."

Agent Jiri Crha, who represents Hemsky, says what amounted to a couple of hours in emergency could have been much worse -- the lacerations were dangerously close to the jugular vein and carotid artery.

"I was very scared when I heard about it," Crha said. "It could have been a very serious injury for Ales. I'm happy things went the right direction, but I was shocked and scared."

Crha, who also represents Czech-born NHLers Radek Bonk, Milan Hejduk and Marian Hossa, learned of the incident immediately as he was called by Hemsky's father.

"You have to be careful," Crha said. "These guys, they could be attacked anywhere, let's face it. That's the scary part. I said to Ales, 'You have to be careful. You have to look around.'

"What I heard, this guy was drunk. That's probably why he hit him. I don't know if it was jealousy or something else.

"It was a very bad experience for Ales. I told my guys, 'If you don't know the people around you, be careful.' Ales is a calm guy. This surprised me. Ales is the last guy I thought this would happen to."

Hemsky didn't miss any games with Moeller and went on to score 13-81-31 to finish fifth in Czech Extraleague scoring.

He was also a member of the Czech Republic's gold-medal winning team in Vienna. Hemsky had cosmetic surgery to minimize the scarring after the season.

"I'm over it," Hemsky said. "I'm ready to play hockey."


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