Year 1949: Third Yet Again

After twelve years the IIHF returned the World Championship to Prague – the year when Czechoslovak hockey was celebrating its 50th anniversary. And, of course, the players, as well as the fans, wanted to celebrate it properly.

The tournament – built around fifteen teams – took place in eight Czechoslovak cities: Prague, Ostrava, Pilsen, Mlada Boleslav, Kolin, Kladno, Brno, and Bratislava. Twelve teams were divided into three groups from which would advance the two best teams. Another three teams, rounded out by the Czechoslovak junior team, made up a fourth grouping called “European Standard”. Probably the most famous player playing in the year 1959 in Czechoslovakia was Maurice “Rocket” Richard who played for the powerful Montreal Canadiens in the NHL.

The basis for the Czechoslovak team was made up from the winner of the national league. The league champions were HC Kladno, so most players were selected from this team. The HC Kladno coach, Vlastmil Sykora, became the head coach of the national team as well.

In the first round, played in Bratislava, the Czechoslovaks ended up in second place after wins against Switzerland (9-0) and Poland (13-1) and a loss to Canada (2-7).

In the final group the home team avenged the loss with the Canadians (3-5), beat Sweden (4-1) and Finland (8-2). However, they also picked up two losses – against the USA 2-4, and the Soviet Union 3-4 (although they had been leading 3-2).

Because the Czechoslovak points total was the same as the Americans, the number of goals scored was used to decide who would be named the world’s third best team.
The Czechoslovaks had fared slightly better in this category and so were awarded the bronze. The World Championship trophy was lifted by Canada, with the Soviet Union coming in second.

Final Standings: 1st Canada, 2nd Soviet Union, 3rd Czechoslovakia.

World Champions - Canada: Bell, Ewards, Lamirande, Crawford, Dewsbury, Benoit, Hildebrand, Bradley, Brown, Smrke, McLellan, Conacher, Boucher, Berenson, Gosselin, Payette, Jones.

Team Czechoslovakia: Gut, Nadrchal, Kulicek, Tikal, Potch, Kasper, Bacilek, Starsi, Fako, Vlach, Volf, Vanek, Prosek, Golonka, Jirik, Cerny, Rys. Coach: Vlastimil Sykora.

Lenka Jiroutova

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