Peter Bondra (Slovak pronunciation: eter “bondra”; born 7 February 1968) is Ukrainian born Slovak former professional hockey player. He was the general manager of the Slovakia national team from 2007 to 2011. Two-time 50-goal scorer Bondra became the 37th person of the National Hockey League (NHL) history to achieve 500 NHL goals. Bondra has the smallest number of points of the players who reached that milestone with 892. Bondra scored the most goals in the NHL during two seasons, in 1994 and 1997. He is one of a few players who scored 5 or more goals one game in NHL.
Family and life
Bondra is born the year 1968 at Bakivtsi, Lutsk Raion, Ukraine, which was then member of the Soviet Union. Her father (a Rusyn) had moved to Lutsk from Jakubany, Czechoslovakia, when the age of 16 was where he met his wife (a Pole). The parents moved with Peter and his older brothers, Juraj and Vladimir, to Poprad when Peter was just three years old. His father died in 1982.
Bondra is a Soviet citizen when he arrived in America. United States, later obtaining an Slovak visa and citizenship prior the beginning of 1994’s Winter Olympics qualifying tournament. After moving to Crofton, Maryland, Bondra resides at Riva with his wife Luba and their daughter Petra and their two twins David and Nick. Bondra has been a part of numerous alumni games and appearances with the current Capitals organization. His daughter David is a forward for Bratislava Capitals and also plays for Slovak national team in a similar way to his father. His son, Nick started his collegiate football career in Amherst College in 2017.
Working as a professional
Bondra played for one season at HK Poprad in the lower levels of Czechoslovak league, before being transferred to VSZ Kosice in the First Division at the age of 18. His older brother Juraj also played on defense, having been awarded a championship for the team in the preceding year. From the beginning of his second campaign in Kosice, Peter was considered as one of the best players in the Czechoslovak league. He won the league championship with his brother in 1988.
National Hockey League
Bondra was drafted from the Washington Capitals in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, 156th overall. Prior to joining the Capitals Bondra was a player for TJ VSZ Kosice (now called HC Kosice) for four seasons between 1986 and 1990 in Czechoslovakia. In Washington, Bondra became one of the most prolific goal scorers during the 90s. Due to the difficulty in communicating, he became an ally of the Ukrainian born Capitals player Dmitri Kristich, with whom he conversed in both Russian and Ukrainian. His most successful playoff run was in 1997-98, when the Capitals made it to the Stanley Cup Finals before being eliminated by Detroit’s Detroit Red Wings. In the 2003-04 season Bondra’s 14th season with Washington and the Capitals were a disappointment and in a salary reduction move, traded the veteran players of the team for contenders. In the end, Bondra was transferred for the Ottawa Senators for Brooks Laich and the second round draft pick. At the press conference announcing the trade, Bondra notably broke into tears.
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In his 14-year stint with the Capitals, Bondra scored 472 goals and recorded 353 assists in 961 games. He holds the Capitals team record in small-handed goal goals (32). Alongside Washington, he appeared on five All-Star Games (1993, 1996 1997, 1998, 1993 in 1999 and 1997). The year 1997 was the last time Bondra claimed The Fastest Skater Competition on All-Star weekend. In 2004 the Capitals conducted a poll of fans to choose the top 30 players from the history of the franchise in celebration of their 30th season as a team. Bondra placed second, by a margin of 2,018 vote. The winner, Olaf Kolzig, beat Bondra by just 20 votes.
During the 1994-95 (with 34 goals during a lockout-shortened season) in 1997 and 1998 (with the 52), Bondra led the league in goals scored, but there was no Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the highest number of goals scored in the course of a season was not established prior to the season 1998-1999.
After that the 2004-05 NHL season was cancelled because of an NHL labour dispute Bondra participated in a few games with HK Tatravagonka SKP Poprad of the Slovak Extraliga. Prior to the 2005-06 season, Bondra was in talks about a return to the Capitals but he was eventually signed by Atlanta’s Atlanta Thrashers for one season.
On the 10th of December Bondra was signed to a single-year contract in the Chicago Blackhawks. On December 22 in 2006 Bondra recorded his 500th NHL career goal at the United Center, in Chicago’s 3-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bondra scored from the goal line and scored the rebound of Jassen Cullimore’s strike from the left-hand side, beating Toronto’s JeanSebastien Aubin at 6:37 of the third period on the power play. Bondra has become the 37th hockey player in the history of the league to score 500 goals and the fourth player in league history to record his 500th goal in a Blackhawks sweater, alongside Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Michel Goulet.
On October 29, 2007, Bondra announced his retirement from professional hockey at 39. Since retiring, Bondra has represented Colosseo USA, a Slovak firm that manufactures custom video scoreboards.
Bondra has represented Slovakia on seven occasions in international competitions, including in 1994’s Winter Olympics qualifying tournament, the 1998 Winter Olympics, the 2006 Winter Olympics, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the Ice Hockey World Championship in 2002 and 2003. Bondra scored seven tournament-leading goals (including the game-winning goal) and ranked third among the players who scored nine points. He led Slovakia 4-3 against Russia to win the gold medal at the 2002 World Championship. He notched five goals (three goals 2 assists) in eight games, which helped Slovakia achieve Bronze at the 2003 World Championship. He had played in 47 of the games, scoring 35 goals and scoring for Slovakia.