December 10, 1939|
Vojnův Městec, Bohemia-Moravia
|Died||July 11, 2011
Brno, Czech Republic
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)|
|Played for||Sokol Kladno (Cze-1)
Rudá hvězda/ZKL Brno (Cze-1)
St. Louis Blues (NHL)
|Olympic medal record|
|Competitor for Czechoslovakia|
Jaroslav Jiřík (December 10, 1939 – July 11, 2011) was a Czech former professional ice hockey right winger. He became the first player that an Eastern Bloc country released to play in the National Hockey League when he appeared in three games with the St. Louis Blues in the 1969–70 season.
Jiřík played seventeen seasons in the Czechoslovak Extraliga, scoring 300 goals in 450 games. Jiřík was named an all-star at the 1965 World Ice Hockey Championships, and he was a member of the Czechoslovak national team that won the bronze medal at the 1964 Winter Olympics and the silver medal at the 1968 Winter Olympics. He scored 83 goals in 134 international games for Czechoslovakia.
Jiřík was first noticed by St. Louis Blues assistant general manager Cliff Fletcher in 1969. Fletcher actually signed three Czechoslovak players: Jiřík, Jan Havel, and Josef Horešovský, all of whom were given permission to transfer to North America by the Czechoslovak government. However, the government changed its mind about Havel and Horesovský, because they were still in their twenties. Jiřík, 30 at the time, was the only player allowed to go.
Jiřík spent most of the 1969–70 season with St. Louis's minor-league affiliate, the Kansas City Blues of the Central Hockey League. He played well in Kansas City, scoring 35 points in 53 games. St. Louis called him up late in the season, and he played three games with the club, going scoreless. He was invited to remain with the organization for the 1970–71 season; however, Jiřík decided to return to Czechoslovakia instead.
Regular season and playoffs
|1961–62||Rudá hvězda Brno||CZE||32||28|
|1969–70||Kansas City Blues||CHL||53||19||16||35||11||—||—||—||—||—|
|1969–70||St. Louis Blues||NHL||3||0||0||0||0||—||—||—||—||—|
- Note: Statistics are incomplete. Jiřík scored 300 goals in 450 Czechoslovak league games, and 83 goals in 134 international games.
- Jaroslav Jiřík's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
- Charvát, Martin (2011-07-11). "První Čech v NHL Jiřík zemřel při pádu sportovního letadla" (in Czech). Czech Radio. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Jaroslav Jiřík's biography at Legends of Hockey
- International Hockey Legends: Jaroslav Jirik
- "Jaroslav Jirik dies at 71". ESPN. Associated Press. July 11, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2001.
- World Hockey Championships first-team all stars
- Olympics History - espn.com