Year 1947: Victorious February

Hockey, or any other sport for that matter, was the last thing on people’s minds during the Second World War. But as soon as peace was restored, the World Championship tradition was renewed. Prague decided to set up the tournament when London turned it down only four months before the scheduled beginning. The 14th World Championship (and 25th European Championship) was held in the Czechoslovak capital from 15-23 February.


Because only eight teams took part in the tournament, there was only one basic group (Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, USA, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, and Poland). Each team played against each other. Prague, although still suffering the ill effects of the war, was determined not to be a failure. Stvanice Stadium was full of excited fans, and the Czechoslovak national radio service broadcast live from every single match.

The head coach of the home team was Mike Buckna, who was living in Canada, and who used to play for Prague’s LTC team.

The Czechoslovaks – with great help from their fans – really shone. In the first game they “gave Romania a hockey lesson” – beating them 23-1, they also then defeated Austria 13-5, and Sweden 6-1. In the next match, the unfortunate Belgian goalie was forced to shovel the puck out of his net 24 times, while at the other end, the Czechoslovak Boza Modry recorded a shut-out.

The game against Sweden was presented in the newspapers as “a little final”. Also the country’s President, Edvard Benes, along with his deputies, and thousands of other fans were on hand at the stadium. But they had to watch on as the home team lost 1-2. As could be expected, the next day’s newspapers were full of woe.

The only chance now for the Czechoslovak national team to get the gold medal was fairly far-fetched. Austria would have to defeat heavily-favoured Sweden. Even the greatest optimist wouldn’t bet on such a result.

But miracles do happen from time to time... Austria won the game 2-1, and with the home team winning their final game against the USA 6-1, the Czechoslovaks became World Champions in their own country. It was the first time that an audience at a stadium heard the Czechoslovak national anthem at the winners’ podium and saw the Czechoslovak flag in the highest position.

Frantisek Pacal, the captain of the winning team, said: “I was so proud to be the captain of the World Champions. The whole tournament was just great. The celebration was amazing. The win was not only ours. It belonged to all the people, our fans. And also to our predecessors who had never won before.”

Final Standings: 1st place: Czechoslovakia, 2nd: Sweden, 3rd Austria.

World Champions - Czechoslovakia: Modry, Jarkovsky, Pacalt, Slama, Pokorny, Stovik, Trousilek, Torojak, Konopasek, Zabrodsky, Rozinak, Bouzek, Stibor, Kus, Drobny
Coach: Mike Buckna.

Lenka Jiroutova

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