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David Krejci is leaving the Bruins to play back home in the Czech Republic

David Krejci scored 215 regular-season goals for the Bruins, and added 22 in the playoffs.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Bruins center David Krejci announced Friday he will not return to the team and that he intends to play in his native Czech Republic.

The veteran released a statement via the Bruins from the team’s Twitter account.

“Since the end of the season, as I have thought about my future, it has become clear that I need to make a difficult decision for my family and I,” he wrote. “At this point in my career and life I need to return to the Czech Republic and play in front of my family who sacrificed so much to help me achieve my NHL dreams.


“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, 35, did not say that he was formally retiring from the NHL. He became an unrestricted free agent Wednesday, after playing 962 regular-season games here, as well as 156 more playoff games, including the successful Stanley Cup run in 2011.

Technically, he could opt one day to return to North America and sign with any team, teams, including the Bruins. However, as he grows older and plays overseas, be it for a Czech or KHL team, his ability to keep up with NHL-level play likely will diminish, as it did even for legendary Czech Jaromir Jagr, who played Division 2 hockey in Czechia this past season at age 49.

The Bruins selected Krejci in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft. His career lines in 14 seasons with the Bruins: 215-515—730 in the regular season and 42-82—124 in the playoffs.

This story will be updated.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at