Arguably the best hockey goalie ever to play in that position. Born in Pardubice, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) in 1964, he was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1983. However, he was not given enough playing time for him to demonstrate his skill.
In 1992 he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, and in the 1993-94 season he managed 7 shutouts, 1.95 GAA (goals against average) and a 93% save percentage. Thus began his string of trophies and awards (he eventually won 5 straight Vezina Trophies, among many other awards like the Hart Memorial Trophy). In 1997-98 he managed 13 shutouts. After a long series of playoff disappointments in Buffalo, he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings prior to the 2001-02 season in exchange for winger Slava Kozlov. The Red Wings went on to win the Stanley Cup that year, with Hasek in net for every playoff game. He promptly retired from the NHL and returned to the Czech Republic afterward, but attempted a comeback with the Red Wings for the 2003-04 season; he sat out for most of it (he played in only 14 games all year) after a few lengthy, mysterious injuries and engaging Detroit's management in a series of petty squabbles. This resulted in his leaving the team after the season and signing with the Ottawa Senators, though due to the lockout, he didn't end up playing for Ottawa until the lockout was resolved. He began the 2005-06 season as Ottawa's starting goaltender, but after one season in Ottawa, he jumped ship again, this time back to the Red Wings, whom he had left for Ottawa three years prior.
His crowning achievement was at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics where he led the Czech team to a gold medal. This was where he became widely acknowledged as the best goalie in the world when he held out against Canada to win 2-1. He and Jaromir Jagr were considered the linchpins of the whole team.
Hasek retired again, this time for good, after the Red Wings' Stanley Cup victory in 2008.
Updated in DMan's absence by avalyn on August 9, 2006 and on June 22, 2008.