Jaroslav Jiřík

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Jaroslav Jiřík
Born (1939-12-10)December 10, 1939
Vojnův Městec, Bohemia-Moravia
Died July 11, 2011(2011-07-11) (aged 71)
Brno, Czech Republic
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Right Wing
Played for Sokol Kladno (Cze-1)
Rudá hvězda/ZKL Brno (Cze-1)
St. Louis Blues (NHL)
National team  Czechoslovakia
Playing career 1957–1975
Olympic medal record
Ice hockey
Competitor for  Czechoslovakia
Silver 1968 Grenoble Men
Bronze 1964 Innsbruck Men

Jaroslav Jiřík (December 10, 1939 – July 11, 2011)[1][2] 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[3][4] when he appeared in three games with the St. Louis Blues in the 1969–70 season.[5]

Jiřík played seventeen seasons in the Czechoslovak Extraliga, scoring 300 goals in 450 games.[3] Jiřík was named an all-star at the 1965 World Ice Hockey Championships,[6] 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.[5][7] He scored 83 goals in 134 international games for Czechoslovakia.[5]

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.[4]

Jiřík spent most of the 1969–70 season with St. Louis's minor-league affiliate, the Kansas City Blues of the Central Hockey League.[5] He played well in Kansas City, scoring 35 points in 53 games.[1] 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.[4]

After his playing career, Jiřík coached several Czechoslovak clubs and ran the Swiss national team from 1977-80.[5]

On July 11, 2011, Jiřík, an experienced pilot, died in a plane crash near Brno.[2][5]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1957–58 HC Kladno CZE
1958–59 HC Kladno CZE 22 16
1959–60 HC Kladno CZE
1960–61 HC Kladno CZE
1961–62 Rudá hvězda Brno CZE 32 28
1962–63 ZKL Brno CZE 32 23
1963–64 ZKL Brno CZE
1964–65 ZKL Brno CZE 32 23
1965–66 ZKL Brno CZE
1966–67 ZKL Brno CZE
1967–68 ZKL Brno CZE 32 25 12 37
1968–69 ZKL Brno CZE 36 36 7 43
1969–70 Kansas City Blues CHL 53 19 16 35 11
1969–70 St. Louis Blues NHL 3 0 0 0 0
1970–71 ZKL Brno CZE 36 26 12 28
1971–72 ZKL Brno CZE
1972–73 ZKL Brno CZE
1973–74 ZKL Brno CZE 8 7 15
1974–75 ZKL Brno CZE
NHL totals 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

International[edit]

Year Team Comp   GP G A Pts PIM
1959 Czechoslovakia WC 8 6 2 8
1960 Czechoslovakia Oly 5 1 3 4 2
1963 Czechoslovakia WC 7 4 3 7 9
1964 Czechoslovakia Oly 7 3 1 4 6
1965 Czechoslovakia WC 7 8 4 12 5
1966 Czechoslovakia WC 7 4 1 5 2
1967 Czechoslovakia WC 6 5 3 8 2
1968 Czechoslovakia Oly 4 3 3 6 0
1969 Czechoslovakia WC 5 2 3 5 0
Note: Statistics are incomplete. Jiřík scored 300 goals in 450 Czechoslovak league games, and 83 goals in 134 international games.

References[edit]