Year 1992: Last Championship Czechs And Slovaks Played As One

The 56th World Championship, held in the year 1992 included twelve teams that made up two groups. In the fist group, which played its matches in Bratislava (today the capital of Slovakia) were teams from the Czechoslovak Federal Republic, Norway, France, Russia, Canada, and Switzerland. In the second group, playing its matches in Prague, were the USA, Italy, Germany, Poland, Sweden, and Finland.

Only the top two teams from each group could progress automatically to the play-off rounds. The other contenders would have to play a two-game series against each other in order to make it. This was the first time such a play-off system was used in the tournament.

For the Czechoslovak players, the tournament in 1992 meant the last games on the international scene together. From the year 1993, teams from the Czech Republic and Slovakia met only as rivals.

The Czechoslovak goalie was Petr Briza, his alternates being Svoboda and the youngster Milan Hnilicka, nowadays a famous NHL goalie. In the offense was Robert Lang – at the time of writing this season’s leading scorer in the NHL. In defense was Richard Smehlik, now an NHL veteran.

The qualifying group that took place in Bratislava was not difficult for the Czechoslovak team. They defeated Norway 6-1, France 3-0, Canada 5-2, and Switzerland 2-0. The only team they dropped points to was Russia – who beat the Czechoslovaks 4-2.

In the quarter-finals the home team played against the Americans and defeated them 8-1. The rival in the semi-finals was Finland. After a full three periods the score was 2-2 – which meant penalty shots. Finland scored on two of their shots but the Czechoslovaks missed all of theirs.

In the battle for the bronze medal the home team met Switzerland, the surprise of the tournament whom they defeated 5-2 to finish third.

The bronze medal seemed something like “fate” for the Czechoslovak teams of this period. They were third at the Olympics in Albertville, and at the World Championships in 1989 in Stockholm, 1990 in Bern, and in 1991 in Finland as well.

The ’92 final was a northern match-up. Finland and Sweden played for the gold medal and the title of World Champions, with the trophy going in the end to the Swedes.

Final Standings: 1st Sweden, 2nd Finland, 3rd Czechoslovak Federal Republic.

World Champions - Sweden: Soderstrom, Aslin, Algotsson, Kennholt, Blomsten, Sjodin, Stillman, Johansson, Esbjors, Liimatainen, Sundin, Forsberg, Garpenlov, Andersson, Nylander, Rydmark, Carnback, Ottosson, Karlsson, Kjellberg, Huss, Larsson, Hensson.

Team Czechoslovakia: Briza, Svoboda, Hnilicka, Jonak, Kadlec, Gudas, Svehla, Musil, Scerban, Smehlik, Jelinek, Janecky, Lubina, Rosol, Lang, Kastak, Prochazka, Reichel, Liba, Augusta, Hrbek, Zemlicka, Veselovsky. Coaches: Ivan Hlinka and Jaroslav Walter.


Lenka Jiroutova

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