First Czechoslovakian in the NHL died this July, 2011

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by VanIslander, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. VanIslander

    VanIslander Don't waste my time

    Sep 4, 2004
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    Did you know that on July 11, 2011 the first NHLer of the former Czechoslovakian national team died in a plane crash? He was Jaroslav Jirik.

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  2. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

    Apr 6, 2010
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    I've heard that he's dies, but I didn't know about the plane crash.

    Jiřík was indeed a pioneer, although not in the style of Juha Widing or even Börje Salming as he did not suceed in the NHL. But still: While Czechoslovakian coaches and players had been allowed to work abroad before, he was the first player whom the Czechoslovakian federation allowed to go to North America. In September 1969 Jiřík, aged 29, signed a contract with the Saint Louis Blues. He only played three games in the NHL though and spent the rest of the season with the Kansas City Blues in the Central Hockey League - a fate he shared with Finnish pioneer Tommi Salmelainen, who had also signed with the Blues during the offseason.
    After the 1969-70 season, Jiřík returned to Czechoslovakia and in September 1970 the news agency ČTK reported that he wouldn't be coming back because his wife expected a child. Jiřík went on to play another 5 years in the first league of Czechoslovakia.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012

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