Czechoslovakia had arguably the best national ice hockey team in the world for years after the Second World War – despite the Communists side-lining a slew of “politically unreliable” star players on the road to building socialism. We look back at the roots of a historic pub brawl and police raid 70 years ago, after frustrated hockey players blew the whistle on official lies.
Retired forward Václav Nedomanský has become the second Czech to be inducted into ice hockey’s Hall of Fame. A member of the Czechoslovak world championship winning team in 1972, was the first player from behind the Iron Curtain to defect and play in the NHL. Nedomanský joins goaltender Dominik Hašek, who is the only other Czech to receive this accolade.
Czech hockey coach Luděk Bukač has died at the age of 83.
He led the national team to victory in the 1985 and 1996 world championships in Prague and Vienna and helped the team to a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo.
The president of the Czech Hockey Association Tomáš Král highlighted Bukač’s contribution to Czech hockey, saying the country had lost a great hockey coach and a great man.
Exactly 50 years ago today, the Czechoslovak national ice hockey team beat the Soviets in the world championships for a second time, setting off a series of celebrations – which soon turned into protests, at times violent, against the ongoing Warsaw Pact occupation. Though a moral victory, in a sense it proved a Pyrrhic one.
Jaromír Jágr was one of the stars of the Czech squad that took ice hockey gold at the Nagano Olympics, which began 20 years ago on Wednesday. The veteran forward admits playing again at this year’s Olympics did cross his mind – and says the absence of NHL players increases Czech chances of repeating the famous victory of 1998.
Most of the members of the winning Czech Olympic ice hockey team from
Nagano will get together in Prague on February 5 to mark the 20th
anniversary of their victory.
The reunion has been arranged to mark what is seen as a key moment not just in sporting but also national history, according to the national ice hockey association which is organising the event.
Seventeen of the 23-strong squad which won gold have promised to take part as well most of the back-up team. One notable exception will by Jaromír Jágr, still playing for the Calgary Flames.
Big names in Czech ice hockey have questioned the NHL’s decision not to release players for next year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. A member of the Czech team that won gold in Nagano in 1998, Jiří Šlégr, said the move was a step backwards as the Olympics would have less value. For his part, Vladimír Růžička, who has taken part in five Olympics as a player and coach, said there had been no better advertisement for the sport of ice hockey than the Olympics.
The Czech Ice Hockey Association paid tribute to former hockey forward and national squad coach, Josef Augusta who died on Thursday at the age of 70. The coach, who managed the squad during the so-called Golden era at the World Champions from 1999 to 2001 with the team winning the championship three times in a row, had been suffering from pancreatic cancer. He had been diagnosed in 2015. As a player, Mr Augusta won the silver medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck.
This Tuesday marks 80 years that the first match was held in the country’s first national hockey league. The teams Sparta Prague and Vítkovice faced off on a natural ice rink in Ostrava-Vítkovice. Forward Vilém Kubečka scoring the very first goal but Sparta came back to tie it. For much of the month, the league, now known as the Extraliga, will be celebrating the anniversary.
The Czech Republic’s triumph at the Olympic Games in Japan’s Nagano in 1998 is to be created in an animated film, FilmNewEurope.com reported. Entitled Nagano – The Birth of Heroes the puppet-based film is being directed by Pavel Sadílek and will feature the voices of Vojta Dyk (as Jaromír Jágr) and Jiří Bartoška (Ivan Hlinka). It is due to premiere in February next year, on the 20th anniversary of the Nagano gold medal win.