Archive for Czechoslovak national team

76 OG : Czechoslovakia Clobbers Bulgaria


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Four-time Olympic medalist JIRI HOLIK (20) of army club Dukla Jihlava and VLADIMIR MARTINEC (10) of Tesla Pardubice, who was selected as an All-Star at the annual IIHF World Championships four consecutive years from 1974 thru 1977, combined to score five goals for CZECHOSLOVAKIA on the opening day of play at the 1976 Winter Olympic Games.
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Three-time world champion CZECHOSLOVAKIA showed itself to be a bona fide contender for the Olympic gold medal by completely bulldozing Eastern Bloc rival and C Pool contestant BULGARIA 14-1 at the Olympiahalle on the first day of the qualification round for the ice hockey competition at the 1976 Winter Games at Innsbruck, Austria.

Three goals each from the Tesla Pardubice tandem of VLADIMIR MARTINEC and JIRI NOVAK as well as two goals apiece from the army club Dukla Jihlava duo of JIRI HOLIK and JOSEF AUGUSTA powered the Czechoslovaks, who were determined to shake off the disappointment of having won only a silver medal at the ’68 Grenoble Games in France as well as just a bronze medal from the ’72 Sapporo Games in Japan and, finally, topple the three-time defending champion Soviet Union to claim Olympic ice hockey supremacy.

The overwhelming result against Bulgaria matched Czechoslovakia’s lopsided win over Poland at Sapporo in 1972 by the exact same scoreline and tied as the country’s second-largest margin of victory at the Olympics since the Czechoslovaks, with a squad that included the now 31-year-old veteran Holik, had squashed Japan 17-2 at the Olympiahalle in the qualification round for the ’64 Innsbruck Games a dozen years earlier.

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JOSEF AUGUSTA of Dukla Jihlava
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Czechoslovakia Olympic captain and SONP Kladno defenseman FRANTISEK POSPISIL, who would soon become the focal point of so much attention for failing a post-match drugs test at the ’76 Innsbruck Games, in addition to the CHZ Litvinov pair of defenseman JIRI BUBLA and center IVAN HLINKA, both of whom would eventually compete for the Vancouver Canucks in the National Hockey League, all added a goal and an assist apiece in the rout of Bulgaria.

EDUARD NOVAK of SONP Kladno, the 29-year old winger who would soon enough score what looked to be a most important goal against the Soviet Union late in the third period of the de facto Gold Medal Match of the ’76 Innsbruck Games, was the other Czechoslovak to put his name on the scoresheet on the opening day of Olympic play in the Austrian Alps.

Curiously enough, despite the one-sided nature of the contest, not one single penalty infraction would be called by either of the two Austrian referees, KURT HAIDINGER and WILHELM VALENTIN, overseeing the international match on home ice at the Olympiahalle in Innsbruck.

Bulgaria managed its only goal when MARIN BACHVAROV, who still stands second all-time having scored 46 goals for the national team at the World Championships and Winter Games, cut the deficit to 7-1 and spoiled the shutout bid of Czechoslovakia netminder JIRI CRHA, the 25-year-old Olympic rookie from Tesla Pardubice who would eventually defect to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, with just under four mintues remaining in the second period.

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26-year-old defenseman JIRI BUBLA of CHZ Litvinov, who would be chosen as an All-Star at both the 1978 and 1979 IIHF World Championships before ultimately appearing in 256 NHL games over five seasons for the Vancouver Canucks, scored what proved to be his only goal for Czechoslovakia at the 1976 Winter Olympic Games during the decisive 14-1 triumph over Bulgaria in the qualification round.

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Occupy 1976 Innsbruck Olympics


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In order to help celebrate the legendary career of Germany’s Mister Eishockey, XAVER UNSINN, the blog is busy organzing a movement to effectively and thoroughly Occupy the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

Some groundwork has been previously posted here at this blog already, including detailed works on the dramatic GOLD MEDAL MATCH from the historic Olympiaeishalle featuring the mighty Eastern bloc rivals of CZECHOSLOVAKIA and the SOVIET UNION.

The memorable ice hockey tournament in the Austrian Alps also included a boycott from both Canada and Sweden in response to the continued ban against “professional” players, a failed drugs test by the team captain of Czechoslovakia as well as a three-team photo finish between Finland, the United States and West Germany for the 1976 Olympic bronze medal.

As always, no passports are required and all are invited en masse to share in the magical moments of international ice hockey history which are joyfully replayed continuously here.

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WEST GERMANY national team captain ALOIS SCHLODER of EV Landshut ascends to the top of the podium at the Olympiahalle to accept the bronze medal for ice hockey from I.O.C. officials during the 1976 Wiinter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria; the silver medalists from CZECHOSLOVAKIA (white sweaters, left) and the gold medal squad from the SOVIET UNION (red sweaters, center), led by captain BORIS MIKHAILOV (K, # 13) of CSKA Moscow, applaud having already received their respective rewards.
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While the U.S.S.R. won the gold medal at the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck for a record-tying fourth consecutive time, the set of bronze medals earned by the Bundesrepublik Deutschland in the Austrian Alps marked the first time in 44 years and only the second occasion, ever, that a German ice hockey squad had finished inside the top three at the prestigous Olympic tournament.

The proceedings in the Austrian Alps also played host to the so-called Elimination Game for the last time ever at an Olympic event. These once and done qualification matches, initially implemented by the I.O.C. at the Innsbruck Games of 1964, were meant to give countries that traditionally competed in the lower B Pool at the IIHF World Championships the opportunity to pull off a big upset and reach the final round at the Winter Games. What often (and predictably) resulted were lopsided blowouts.

Such as the 14-1 beating Czechoslovakia issued to Bulgaria at the Olympiahalle on February 2, 1976, or the 16-3 thrashing that the Soviet Union inflicted upon host nation Austria the very next day in Innsbruck … but that would be another Olympic story.

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West Germany’s flower-bearing Olympic bronze medal trainer XAVER UNSINN (left) and five of his 1976 Bundesliga champion squad SC Berlin — forwards ERNST KOEPF, FERENC VOZAR, LORENZ FUNK, MARTIN HINTERSTOCKER and goaltender ERICH WEISHAUPT — return triumphantly from the 1976 Winter Olympic Games hosted by Innsbruck in neighboring Austria.

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Innsbruck ’76 : Epic Finale / USSR vs CSSR

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Two goals inside of 24 seconds from VALERY KHARLAMOV (left) and ALEXANDER YAKUSHEV (right) with under five minutes remaining lifted the USSR to a dramatic 4-3 decision over Czechoslovakia on the final day at the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

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As classic a de facto Gold Medal Match as Olympic history has to offer…

Ever since half a million soldiers from the armies of the SOVIET UNION and other Warsaw Pact nations invaded CZECHOSLOVAKIA back in 1968, international sporting events between the two nations had soared to new heights for intensity as well as competitiveness — especially in ice hockey. 

Even before the decisive final twenty minutes at the finale of the 1976 Winter Olympic tournament, one cannot say that Czechoslovakia did not have ample opportunity to defeat the Soviet Union and deliver a powerful message of symbolic revenge in the final game at Innsbruck.

At the clash of Eastern-bloc arch-rivals and contemporary international ice hockey powerhouses in the Austrian Alps, the USSR were shooting for a fourth consecutive set of gold medals at the Winter Games; Czechoslovakia were coveting the first Olympic title in their nation’s history.

The Czechoslovaks, in fact, were already leading 2-0 thru centers MILAN NOVY (6) and IVAN HLINKA (10) midway through the second period when a glorious chance arrived. A pair of Soviets in the box gave Czechoslovakia a 5-on-3 power play which, however, went by the boards thanks to the noteable efforts of USSR center VLADIMIR SHADRIN (19) as well as defensemen YURI LIAPKIN (5) and GENNADY TSYGANKOV (7) on the penalty-kill.

Having earned the reprieve, the Soviets thereafter responded with goals from Shadrin and fellow centerman VLADIMIR PETROV (16) to knot the match and leave all to play for in the third period.

Czechoslovakia’s JIRI HOLOCEK (2) and the USSR’s VLADISLAV TRETIAK (20) each managed to keep all pucks out over the first half of the last period.

It is at this point that the uninterupted footage presented by WORLD HOCKEY begins, with roughly ten minutes left in the third at the OLYMPIA EISHALLE in Innsbruck and the score level at USSR 2 – CSSR 2 :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMtNnAGQowc&feature=PlayList&p=39223EECA14DEC79&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=4

Roughly a 1:20 into the clip, the Czechoslovak captain and center of a doping scandal at Innsbruck, FRANTISEK POSPISIL (7), collects a Soviet clearance in his own end and skates the puck well behind his own net before embarking on a mid-ice rush. At the red line, the defenseman squares the puck for his streaking SONP Kladno teammate EDUARD NOVAK (22).

Once inside the Soviet zone and seemingly surrounded, the 29-year-old right wing quickly fires a wrist-shot that appears to take a deflection off of defenseman ALEANDER GUSEV (2) and fool Tretiak in the USSR goal. An indelible, if premature, celebration from Novak ensues. The Czechoslovaks are now nine minutes less two seconds from the Olympic gold medal.

A few minutes later, Czechoslovak will critically fail to widen their lead, however. At the 4:35 mark of the clip, the veteran Olympian JIRI HOLIK (20) circles his own cage and heads down the right on a rink-length rush before deftly dishing the disc to BOHUSLAV STASTNY (12). Although at first apparently beaten, the catllike Tretiak is able to thwart the Tesla Pardubice wing with a last-ditch dive and literally save the game for the USSR.

This stop proves to be absolutely critical for, soon, the Soviet Union will immediately strike back after the go-ahead goal-scorer Novak is sent to the penalty box with less than six minutes to play for a foul on BORIS MIKHAILOV (13) along the left wing boards.

The Czechoslovaks do not appear to be in such bad shape on the penalty-kill until Tysgankov pulls a smart move in front of his pursuer Novy’s bench and sends the speeding VIKTOR SHALIMOV (9) the puck. A procession of drop passes among Spartak players produces a goal-mouth scramble. Finally, Shalimov is able to poke the puck across to ALEXANDER YAKUSHEV (15) on the right and, in an instant, the game is tied.

Considering the earlier victory at Innsbruck Czechoslovakia were made to forfeit on account of Pospisil’s failed drug test following the Poland match, a draw was enough to do the deal for the Soviets in their last match.

Within a scant 24 seconds, however, the result was rendered beyond doubt in the Gold Medal Match at Innsbruck.

Petrov controls an offensive zone face-off and immediately slips the puck past defenseman JIRI BUBLA (19) to a wide-open VALERY KHARLAMOV (17) in front of the Czechoslovak goal. With Holocek now caught out of position, the whole of the net is at the CSKA Moscow left wing’s mercy. Kharlamov makes no mistake as the USSR surge suddenly ahead.

Four minutes minus one second still remain to be contested but it is almost immediately evident that the Czechoslovaks’ spirit has been effectively eliminated by the Soviets’ lightning-quick, consecutive goals in the second half of the third period.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=EdVRAJUv7aU&feature=PlayList&p=CC82D1F23532925D&index=14

The Soviets begin to practice some possession hockey in earnest and, thus, severely crimp Czechoslovakia’s chances for the two goals the blue helmets now require to take the gold medal.

In fact, it is the Soviets who have all the best opportunities the rest of the way; a single long wrist shot from Novak easily swept aside by Tretiak with under a minute to go summarized Czechoslovakia’s  most dangerous counterattack.

After the CSKA Moscow puck tamer turned away a desperation drive from outside the blueline by OLDRICH MACHAC (4) in the waning moments, the USSR’s run of Olympic supremacy since 1964 remained in tact.

For the fifth time in six appearances at the Winter Games, the Soviet Union are Olympic ice hockey champions.

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Additional highlight footage from the 1976 de facto Gold Medal Match at the Olympia Eishalle in Innsbruck.

The slow-motion shots of the third Soviet goal provides a different angle for the viewing connoisseur.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=X2c0fLOOSYE&feature=related

The uninhibited frustration to be found on the faces of the Czechoslovaks at their bench following Yakushev’s tying goal is rather insightful, as well.

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Innsbruck ’76 : Numerical Rosters – Czechoslovakia and Soviet Union

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Left : Czechoslovakia center MILAN NOVY

Right : Soviet Union center VLADMIR SHADRIN

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So as to better facilitate enjoyment of the footage from the classic confrontation that comprised the de facto Gold Medal Match for the 1976 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria — the numerical rosters for the two competing nations of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union :

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SOVIET UNION — coaches — Boris KULAGIN and Konstantin LOKTEV

  •   1 — G —– Alexander SIDELNIKOV – Soviet Wings — (did not play)
  •   2 — D —– Alexander GUSEV — CSKA Moscow
  •   3 — D —– Vladimir LUTCHENKO — CSKA Moscow
  •   4 — D —– Sergei BABINOV — Soviet Wings
  •   5 — D —– Yuri LIAPKIN — Spartak Moscow
  •   6 — D —– Valery VASILIEV — Dynamo Moscow
  •   7 — D —– Gennady TSYGANKOV — CSKA Moscow
  •   8 — LW — Sergei KAPUSTIN — Soviet Wings
  •   9 — RW — Viktor SHALIMOV — Spartak Moscow
  • 10 — RW — Alexander MALTSEV — Dynamo Moscow
  • 11 — LW — Boris ALEXANDROV — CSKA Moscow — (did not play)
  • 13 — RW — Boris MIKHAILOV — CSKA Moscow
  • 15 — LW —- Alexander YAKUSHEV — Spartak Moscow
  • 16 — C —— Vladimir PETROV — CSKA Moscow
  • 17 — LW —- Valery KHARLAMOV — CSKA Moscow
  • 19 — C —— Vladimir SHADRIN — Spartak Moscow
  • 20 — G —— Vladislav TRETIAK — CSKA Moscow
  • 22 — C —— Viktor ZHLUKTOV — CSKA Moscow 

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CZECHOSLOVAKIA — coaches — Karel GUT and Jan STARSI

  •   2 — G —– Jiri HOLOCEK — Sparta Prague
  •   4 — D —– Oldrich MACHAC — ZKL Brno
  •   5 — D —– Milan CHALUPA — Dukla Jihlava
  •   6 — C —– Milan NOVY — SONP Kladno
  •   7 — D —– Frantisek POSPISIL — SONP Kladno
  •   8 — G —– Pavol SVITANA — VSZ Kosice — (did not play)
  •   9 — D —– Miroslav DVORAK — Motor Ceske Budejovice
  • 10 — RW — Vladimir MARTINEC — Tesla Pardubice
  • 11 — C —— Jiri NOVAK — Tesla Pardubice
  • 12 — LW — Bohuslav STASTNY — Tesla Pardubice
  • 17 — D —— Milan KAJKL — Skoda Plzen
  • 19 — D —— Jiri BUBLA — CHZ Litivinov
  • 20 — RW — Jiri HOLIK — Dukla Jihlava
  • 21 — C —— Ivan HLINKA — CHZ Litvinov
  • 22 — RW — Eduard NOVAK — SONP Kladno
  • 23 — LW — Jaroslav POUZAR — Motor Ceske Budejovice
  • 25 — LW — Bohuslav EBERMANN — Skoda Plzen
  • 26 — LW — Josef AUGUSTA — Dukla Jihlava

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Readers will note the USSR squad is comprised of skaters exclusively from the four Moscow-based clubs in the Soviet elite league whereas Czechoslovakia have eight different clubs represented from their top domestic circuit.

BORIS ALEXANDROV, who did not take a single shift for the Soviet Union in the Innsbruck finale versus Czechoslovakia, was the only ice hockey player from Kazakhstan to ever appear for the USSR at the Winter Olympic Games.

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Holik First To Hold Four Medals

JIRI HOLIK appeared at no fewer than 17 major international tournaments for Czechoslovakia over the course of his career. Holik skated a total of 319 games, a national record, for Czechoslovakia in all international competitions.

JIRI HOLIK appeared at no fewer than 17 major international tournaments for Czechoslovakia over the course of his career. Holik skated a total of 319 games, a national record, for Czechoslovakia in all international competitions.

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Despite his team’s disappointing 4-3 loss to the Soviet Union in the final match at the 1976 Innsbruck Games, the veteran Czechoslovakia forward JIRI HOLIK still had cause to feel like an Olympic champion.

In fact, the 31-year-old Dukla Jihlava winger had just accomplished what no other player in history ever had — a fourth medal for ice hockey at the Winter Olympic Games.

Interesting enough, Holik made his Olympic debut for Czechoslovakia in 1964 in the Austrian city of Innsbruck and, ultimately, ended his career at the Winter Games in 1976 in the very same arena at the foot of the Tyrolean Alps.

Holik, after two seasons in West Germany for SB Rosenheim, also completed his playing career in Austria with AT Stadlau Wien (Vienna) in 1981.

In a bit of irony, Holik’s opposite number in the de facto Gold Medal Match at Innsbruck in 1976, USSR goaltender VLADISLAV TRETIAK, became the next player to pocket a fourth Olympic medal at the 1984 Sarajevo Games in Yugoslavia.

Defenseman IGOR KRAVCHUK, who competed for the Soviet Union, Unified Team as well as Russia at the Winter Games, is the only other player to have ever totaled four medals for ice hockey at the Olympics.

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Head West Old Men

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Several skaters from both squads at the de facto Gold Medal Match of the 1976 Innsbruck Games eventually headed west to play some more hockey at the tail end of their careers.

The authorities in Czechoslovakia, who had been allowing aging players to compete in Western Europe since the late 1960s, adopted a new transfer policy involving the professional National Hockey League in the summer of 1981.

Thus, former Czechoslovak national team players IVAN HLINKA and JIRI BUBLA joined the Vancouver Canucks hockey club who skated their way to the 1982 Stanley Cup finals before bowing to the-then two-time defending NHL champion, the New York Islanders. 

The following season, the 1982-83 schedule, MIROSLAV DVORAK put on the shirt of the Philadelphia Flyers, Jarosloav POUZAR checked in present for the Edmonton Oilers and MILAN NOVY went to the Washington Capitals.

Later, MILAN CHALUPA, after a total of three Winter Olympic Games for Czechoslovakia had a short cup of coffee for the Detroit Red Wings in 1984-85.

All were preceded by the backup goalkeeper for Czechoslovakia at Innsbruck, however. Tesla Pardubice netminder JIRI CRHA had defected the Iron Curtain following the 1978-79 and turned up in goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs in February of 1980. Then 29, Crha became the first Czechoslovak to ever bolt the domestic league and jump directly to an NHL club.

Crha and Chalupa were later long-time teammates for EHC Freiburg in West Germany.

The Czechoslovak Ice Hockey Federation had, after the 1969-70 season, discontinued the practice of allowing NHL participation to Czechoslovak players. JAROSLAV JIRIK had been the lone player sent to the St. Louis Blues for a single year, most of which was spent in the minors with the Kansas City Blues of the Central Hockey League.

Clearly, the Crha Case was of at least some influence to the the Czechoslovak authorities.

As for the rest of the silver medalists at Innsbruck, almost all were permitted to play at least a little professional hockey in Western Europe later on down the line.

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Pospisil Allowed To Play On

FRANTISEK POSPISIL, defenseman and captain of the Czechoslovakia national team, representing the title-winning host nation at the medal ceremonies for the 1972 IIHF World Championships in Prague.

FRANTISEK POSPISIL, defenseman and captain of the Czechoslovakia national team, representing the title-winning host nation at the medal ceremonies for the 1972 IIHF World Championships in Prague.

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One of the most curious episodes in the history of ice hockey at the Winter Olympics coincided with the 1976 Innsbruck Games in Austria.

Following the third leg of the final round-robin the 31-year-old Czechoslovak captain, FRANTISEK POSPISIL, was among the players chosen at random to provide a sample to International Olympic Committee officials for anti-doping tests.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA, expected to challenge the Soviet Union for supremacy in the Tyrolean Alps, had just defeated their Warsaw Pact allies and northern neighbors POLAND 7-1 to remain unbeaten and untied. Pospisil, appearing at his third Winter Olympic Games, scored no goals in the match but did provide one assist.

The team physician of the Czechoslovak ice hockey squad, DR. OTTO TREFNY, immediately admitted that Pospisil had been given codeine to combat a viral infection. An outbreak of influenza had descended upon the Olympic village in Innsbruck and several of the Czechoslovak puck men had been affected. Later, it was disclosed that morphine, in addition to codeine, had been found in Pospisil’s sample, as well.

The International Ice Hockey Federation had formulated an anti-doping policy in the summer of 1969 and a drug-testing policy was initially implemented at the 1972 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan. Two years later, at the 1974 World Championships in Helsinki, the IIHF had its first doping cases to contend with. Both center ULF NILSSON of Sweden and goalie STIG WETZELL of Finland had tested positive for the banned substance of ephedrine over the course of the tournament.

At Helsinki, the IIHF penalties were severe as both players upon failure were immediately expelled from competition and suspended from international play for eighteen months. The matches affected by the positive drug test results — Sweden’s 4-1 victory over Poland and host nation Finland’s 5-2 upset of Czechoslovakia — were overturned. In each instance, a 5-0 defeat for the offending player’s team went into the record books.

At the 1976 Winter Olympic Games, however, Pospisil’s failed drug test was, indeed, handled differently by the IIHF and IOC officials in Innsbruck.

The player Pospisil was allowed to continue to compete in the ice hockey tournament. The team doctor Trefny was, initially, banned from the Olympics for life. Czechoslovakia was stripped of its 7-1 win over Poland and instead assigned a 1-0 defeat; the Poles, significantly, were not given the corresponding victory in the standings at Innsbruck.

“The flu epidemic cannot be used as an excuse for breaking the rules,” announced PRINCE ALEXANDRE DE MERODE, the president of the IOC’s medical committee.

“Instead of punishing people who have taken medicine against the flu, the commission should have taken steps to stop the flu,” responded the coach of the Czechoslovakia ice hockey team, KAREL GUT.

Apparently unaffected by the Pospisil affair, the Czechoslovaks defeated their neighbors from West Germany 7-4 in the fourth round to set a winner-take-all showdown with their Eastern-bloc arch-rival, the Soviet Union.

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Innsbruck ’64 : Sweden Storms To Silver

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New York Times — Tuesday, February 11, 1964.

AP — Radio Prague reported a weekend demonstration at Brno today in dissatisfaction with Czechoslovakia’s third place showing at the Winter Olympics.

The report said that “excited and dangerous demonstrations” had taken place in front of the apartment of the team’s trainer and that his wife had been threatened.

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CZECHOSLOVAKIA had blown the silver medal on the tournament’s concluding day to Sweden at the 1964 Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

Having won five of their first six matches, the Czechoslovaks needed only a draw against the Swedes, who entered the final proceedings with a mark of four wins and two losses. After capturing the silver medal at St. Moritz in 1948, Czechoslovakia returned home from the next three Olympic ice hockey competitions empty-handed.

A 3-1 victory over Canada on the strength of third-period goals from JAN KLAPAC, JIRI HOLIK and JOSEF CERNY, who ended up on the media All-Star squad in 1964, had raised hopes for the Czechoslovaks in the Tyrolean Alps.

SWEDEN, surprise winners at the 1962 IIHF World Championships in Colorado Springs, had other ideas, however.

Sweden’s attack was powered by the two joint top point-scorers at Innsbruck, SVEN “Tumba” JOHANSSON (8 go 3 as, 11 pts) and ULF STERNER (6 go 5 as, 11 pts). Johansson, a bronze medalist for Sweden at Oslo in 1952, was competing at his fourth Winter Games. In the very last match of the 1964 Olympic tournament, the Swedes stormed to leads of 3-1 after one and 6-2 at the conclusion of the two on the way to a sound 8-3 triumph over Czechoslovakia.

Thus, Sweden finished in second place — no matter which tie-breaking formula was employed — and secured just their second set of silver medals in their nation’s history.

Sweden originally won the silver medal at the 1928 Winter Olympic Games in St. Mortiz, Switzerland.

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Innsbruck First Time Indoors

The OLYMPIAHALLE in the Austrian city of Innsbruck is the only arena in the world to have ever hosted two ice hockey tournaments at the Winter Olympic Games. In the background of the photo would be the Tyrolean Alps.

The OLYMPIAHALLE in the Austrian city of Innsbruck is the only arena in the world to have ever hosted two ice hockey tournaments at the Winter Olympic Games. In the background of the photo would be the Tyrolean Alps.

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The IXth Winter Games held at Innsbruck, Austria, in 1964 marked the first time in history the ice hockey tournament at the Olympics was held in an indoor arena.

Located in the Pradl district of  the city of Innsbruck, a picturesque 7,800-seat arena, known officially as the OLYMPIHALLE, was purpose-built for and opened to commence the 1964 Winter Olympics.

For the sport of ice hockey, the Olympiahalle first hosted two qualification matches — Canada’s 14-1 trampling of Yugoslavia and Switzerland’s 5-1 defeat of Norway — two days before the official start of the Innsbruck Games on January 27, 1964.

The following clip contains color footage leaving a good feel for what it was like from what appears to be the second level inside the Eishalle on opening day as white-shirted CZECHOSLOVAKIA oppose dark-shirted WEST GERMANY on January 29 :  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OLwd8y9jtk&feature=PlayList&p=39223EECA14DEC79&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=1

The eventual bronze medalist Czechoslovaks, in part behind a pair of goals from VLASTIMIL BUBNIK, handed their neighbors to the west a sound 11-1 thrashing at the Olympiahalle in Innsbruck on the opening day of  the final-round tournament at the 1964 Winter Olympics.

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Six Unanswered Spurred U.S. Sextet

CZECHOSLOVAKIA (red shirts, blue pants) face-off against the UNITED STATES (white shirts, red pants) on the final day of competition at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA (red shirts, blue pants) face-off against the UNITED STATES (white shirts, red pants) on the final day of competition at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley.

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The UNITED STATES, after consecutive wins over Canada and the Soviet Union, still had to face CZECHOSLOVAKIA in a final, early morning match at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley.

Several Americans were reportedly so excited after the USSR win that they had trouble sleeping prior to their final game. United States JACK MCCARTAN, the unquestionable star of the last two U.S. shows, is said to have “seen nothing but flying pucks at him all night”. Perhaps a bit nervous, McCartan and the United States conceded a goal after just eight seconds the next morning to start the match with Czechoslovakia.

MIROSLAV VLACH’s goal still sets the record for fastest goal to start an Olympic ice hockey game.

A wild first period produced six goals and a 3-3 draw; matters settled in the second stanza, however, the United States again fell behind after Vlach scored his second goal of the game and eighth at the Olympics to put Czechoslovakia ahead 4-3 with twenty minutes to play.

After receiving a surprise visitor to the locker room bearing news of a secret weapon, the United States took to the ice for the final time at Squaw Valley and produced the most stunning third period ever seen at the Winter Olympic Games.

Six minutes in, ROGER CHRISTIAN grabbed the first of what would be SIX unanswered goals for the United States. A little over a minute and a half later, BOB CLEARY, who had a pair of goals for the game, put the Americans ahead to stay. Three goals in sixty-seven seconds later put the final nails in Czechoslovakia’s coffin.

Unbeaten and untied after all seven games, the unheraled United States, who had placed seventh at the previous year’s IIHF World Championships, accepted the very first set of gold medals for ice hockey at the Winter Olympics in their nation’s history.

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BILL CLEARY, Bob’s brother, added a goal for the United States in the 9-4 final day triumph over Czechoslovakia at Squaw Valley. The 25-year-old former Harvard University forward finished third in scoring at the 1960 Winter Olympics with seven goals and 14 points in seven games.

ROGER CHRISTIAN’s four-score effort against the Czechoslovaks is easily the modern record for most goals in an Olympic Gold Medal Match. Christian, whose brother, Bill, finished fourth in scoring at the Squaw Valley tournament with two goals and 13 points, led the United States with eight goals in 1960.

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