Wednesday, July 20, 2011
July by the Numbers returns to Eastern Europe for jersey #20.
HC Pardubice was formed in 1923 in Czechoslovakia. The club began to play a regular schedule of games in the early 1930's and at the end of World War II a new open air stadium with artificial ice arrived.
Shortly thereafter, the club won a second division title in 1949-50, earning promotion to the top level of Czech hockey, the Czechoslovak First Ice Hockey League. Since their promotion in 1950, they have remained without interruption at the top level of Czech hockey, a remarkable record of over 60 years of consistency and competitiveness.
On the occasion of their promotion in 1950-51, the club adopted a new name, Slavia Pardubice, which was then changed to Dynamo Pardubice for the 1953-54 campaign. The club set a new high water mark with a third place finish in 1959-60, the same season a roof was added to the stadium for the first time!
The club changed names once again due to a corporate sponsorship arrangement with Tesla, the government-owned electronics conglomerate, and thus became knows as Tesla Pardubice beginning in 1960-61.
In 1964-65, Zdeněk Špaček of Pardubice led the league in scoring with 33 goals. The club received an influx of talent from the 1967 Czechoslovak junior champions when Bohuslav Šťastný, Jiří Novák and Vladimír Martinec all joined the squad which paid off with their first ever league championship in 1972-73 following a first place regular season finish, coming from a 24-9-3 record, and a 4 games to 2 end the domination of six time defending champions Dukla Jihlava. Martinec was awarded the Golden Hockey Stick as the league MVP following the season, the first of four he would win over the next seven seasons.
That championship earned Pardubice a place in the following season's European Champions Cup, outlasting 15 other clubs to reach the final against the dominant Central Red Army Club of Moscow, Soviet Union, who had won the last five cups in a row. Pardubice defeated Red Army in Game 1 by a score of 3-2 at home, but fell in the second game 6-1 in Moscow for an 8-4 aggregate score for the Soviets.
In December of 1977, Pardubice came to North America and played four exhibition games against clubs from the NHL, losing 6-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers , defeating the Minnesota North Stars 4-2 and then losing to the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 and the New York Islanders 8-3.
In 1978-79, Martinec won his third MVP award, following previous ones in 1975 and 1976, when he led the league with 42 goals.
Two seasons later saw the arrival of Czech hockey legend and Pardubice native, goalkeeper Domink Hašek, who later became the club's number one netminder in 1982-83.
Hašek guided Tesla to the league championship in 1986-87 and 1988-89, winning the Golden Hockey Stick on both occasions. Also winning an award for Best Coach, was former star player Martinec.
1986-87 league champions Tesla Pardubice
With the many political changes in the world in the early 1990's, including the overthrow of the communist government in 1989, the club acquired a new name for the 1991-92 season when they became known as HC Pardubice.
Pardubice became members of the Czech Extraliga following the division of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. The club has changed names several times since 1995 through a series of sponsorships.
The club rose to the top again, reaching the final in 2003-04 and winning their fourth championship in 2004-05, taking advantage of the opportunity to employ Jan Bulis, Milan Hejduk and playoff MVP Ales Hemsky during the NHL lockout.
2004-05 champions HC Pardubice
Following his retirement from the NHL in 2008, Hašek returned to his roots and signed a one year contract with Pardubice for the 2009-10 season, going 23-10 on his way to leading the club to it's fifth and most recent championship at the age of 44.
Domink Hašek celebrates another championship on his return to him hometown of Pardubice
Today's featured jersey is a 1975-76 Tesla Pardubice Jiří Novák jersey. The front is dominated by the Tesla electronics company logo which makes for a striking jersey unlike any other. The jersey is customized in the classic Czech style of of the era with a small drop shadow and even smaller outline on both the letters, numbers and sponsorship logos.
Novák played for Pardubice from 1967 to 1970 and again from 1972 to 1981. His #20 has since been retired by the club, one of nine such honored sweaters in team history.
Today's video segment is Pardubice winning their most recent championship in 2010.
This next video is a slide show highlighting the fans of Pardubice, showing their passion for the club.