Czech Republic's Petr Nedved smiles after winning against Sweden during the Karjala Tournament in Ornskoldsvik Sweden Nov. 10 2011. // Czech Republic's Petr Nedved smiles after winning against Sweden during the Karjala Tournament in Ornskoldsvik Sweden Nov. 10 2011. (REUTERS/Hakan Nordstrom/Scanpix)

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Czech Republic's Petr Nedved smiles after winning against Sweden during the Karjala Tournament in Ornskoldsvik Sweden Nov. 10 2011.

Before there ever was a Czech Republic, Petr Nedved was a hockey star in Czechoslovakia, the communist nation the 17-year-old travelled across the world playing for. It was at a tournament in Calgary, however, that the forward would leave his home country, walking into an Alberta police station with a reported $20 in his pocket. Nedved said later it was the "fear of regret" that caused him to defect from his native country, which had strict rules against athletes leaving the nation to chase professional careers elsewhere. Nedved would play 15 years in the NHL, even representing Canada at the 1994 Winter Olympics, though in 2007 he returned to the Czech Republic, where he continues to play hockey today.

* Bing: Who else was on that 1994 Canadian Olympic hockey team?