Potato played under Bowman. The legendary Jiřík eventually paid for his passion

“It was just Potato. A good hockey player who has always acted for himself in his career. Apart from hockey, he didn’t communicate much with his teammates and didn’t go anywhere. He became far more open and more friendly later after the end of his career, “said Richard Farda, a former teammate from Brno and the national team, for Deník Rovnost.

A native of Vojnov Městec, Jiřík experienced his first championship title in the Czechoslovak highest competition in Kladno in 1959, but he spent most of his career with Brno, where he headed for the war. He celebrated five championship titles in southern Moravia and scored 242 goals. He was characterized by his movement in front of the goal area, from where he mostly scored. “He was made and very tough. He cut there with the defenders and scored a lot of goals thanks to a run or a touchdown, “said Farda.

Jiřík also shone on the international scene. Although he lacks the most valuable medals, he won five precious metals, two silver and three bronze, at the World Championships. He also has one silver and a bronze from the Olympic Games. At the championship in Stockholm in 1969, he was one of the initiators of taping the red star on the national jersey with a tape to protest against the Soviet occupation. Surprisingly, the ruling regime left this gesture of defiance unpunished. “We didn’t know he was up to something. One cabin was small for us, so we young people had an outbuilding when we went up the stairs. Jarda Jiřík and Jarda Holík then came to see us young people for gluing the star, “Farda recalled.

See also  "Yes sir, I can boogie", Maria Mendiola, member of the legendary duo Baccara, died at the age of 69

Jiřík made an indelible mark on the history of domestic hockey mainly by entering the NHL in the 1969/1970 season, where he wore the St. Louis Blues jersey for three games under the guidance of legendary coach Scotty Bowman. But he did not do well overseas, in the most famous league in the world he jumped in only three matches, the rest he spent on a farm in Kansas City. “He scored goals because he was able to stand in front of the goal. Overseas, this was not possible despite the two-meter Canadian defender. They didn’t just let him stand in front of the goal and that’s why he didn’t do well in the NHL, “Farda summed up.

He soon returned to Brno, with which he won a silver medal. After the end of his playing career in 1975, he started coaching. He led, for example, Kometa, the Swiss national team or the Slovak Nitra. His great passion later became planes, which became fatal for him. “He always came to our meetings. Jarda Holík already said at the time that it would fall apart. He just laughed, “added Farda.

Leave a Comment