Monday, May 13, 2013

1969 Czechoslovakia Josef Černý Jersey

Josef Černý, the only boy in his family's nine children, began his top level playing career in 1957-58 at age 18 with HC Plzen in Czechoslovakia. He would see action in 15 games, which included scoring his first 4 goals in a career which would eventually see him become the first player in the Czechoslovak league to score 400 goals, an impressive number keeping in mind the much shorter European regular season, as Černý would never play more than 46 games in a season.

The left winger's stay would be short lived, as he would join Rudá Hvēzda (Red Star) Brno the following season for a run that would last the next 20 seasons. Černý would score 13 goals his first season with Brno and then upping that to 16 in 1959-60, which also saw Brno and Černý capture the first seven consecutive Czechoslovakian championships. Three seasons later, by which time the team had changed it's name to ZKL (meaning "Ball Bearing Factory") Brno in recognition of it's change away from being an army hockey club, Černý's career highs would creep up to 18 goals and 28 points before simply erupting for a stunning 44 goals and 56 points in only 32 games in 1963-64! His linemates during this time period were center Frantisek Vanek and right winger Rudolf Scheuer.

Cerny ZKL Brno photo CernyZKLBrno.jpg
Černý early in his career with ZKL

It would be the first of eight consecutive seasons with 20 goals or more, which included seasons of 34 in 1965-66, 30 in 1968-69 and 32 in 1969-70. The 1965-66 season also saw Černý and Brno capture not only the seventh Czechoslovakian championship of his career, but the first of three consecutive European Cups, which went to the top club team in Europe beginning in 1966 which included defeats of EV Füssen of Germany in 1966, Ilves Tampere of Finland in 1967 and fellow Czechoslovakians Dukla Jihlava in 1968.

Černý was named an assistant captain of HC Kometa in 1967-68 and succeeded veteran and linemate Vanek as team captain two seasons later in 1969, a position he would hold for four seasons. 1973-74 saw Černý achieve his final 20 goal season with 23, his ninth overall and his milestone 400th goal would arrive in 1976-77, a year after the team name again was changed, now to Zetor Brno. Černý would play one final season with HC Kometa Brno in 1977-78 and his 22 year career would come to a close with one final season with ATSE Graz in the Austrian league in 1978-79.

Černý's international career was typical of a top-flight European star of the era, as his domestic season would end early enough in the spring to make him available on an annual basis for the World Championships.

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Josef Černý

His first World Championship action came in 1959 on home ice at the age of just 19 in Prague and Bratislava, which netted him a bronze medal. 1961 resulted in a silver medal and a second bronze in 1963. Consecutive silver medals arrived in 1965 and 1966. Czechoslovakia took home a bronze in 1969 before Černý was named captain of the Czechoslovakian National Team in 1970, which saw Černý earn his fourth bronze medal. His final World Championships in 1971 brought him another silver, his fourth.

Černý's first Olympic Games came in 1960 and his first Olympic medal was a bronze in 1964, which was followed by a sliver medal in 1968.

1960 Czechoslovakia Olympic team photo 1960CzechoslovakiaOlympicteam.png
The 1960 Czechoslovakia Olympic team

The final chapter of his international career came at the 1972 Olympics where Černý was rewarded with another bronze medal, the 11 medal of his career out of 13 opportunities.

1972 Czechoslovakia Olympic team photo 1972CzechoslovakiaOlympicteam.jpg
Černý  and the 1972 Czechoslovakia Olympic team

Following his playing career, Černý would go into head coaching, first in Austria and later in Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, including coaching the Czech U18 National Team from 2006 to 2010.

Černý's career was recognized with his induction into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2007.

Cerny Czechoslovakia photo CernyCzechoslovakia.jpg
Černý, with pucks representing his many international goals,
which is probably easy to score when you are playing with three sticks

Today's featured jersey is a 1969 Czechoslovakia National Team Josef Černý jersey as worn in the emotionally charged 1969 World Championships when Czechoslovakia defeated the Soviet Union twice, thrilling the Czechs back at home who were still under occupation by the Soviets.

While many would expect Czechoslovakia to wear red, they have in fact, worn blue off an on during their history, including periods of use in the 1930's, 40's and 50's as well as from 1965 to 1974 before a permanent change to red jerseys in 1975.

This striking jersey is an all-time classic, with the simplicity of the striping, lace up collar, heraldic main crest as well as the unique font for the numbers, which are then drop shadowed and outlined, a treatment which is also carried over to the CSSR lettering on the back, which is then radially arched, an early precursor to player names on the back, which did not become a regular part of NHL jerseys until the mid 1970's.

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photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Here is a special treat, footage of Czechoslovakia beating the Soviet Union at the 1969 World Championships, showing footage from the game as well as the heroes welcome the received when they returned home.

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