Josef Černý

* 1939  

  • “When young boys start playing ice-hockey today, they ask for ice clear as a mirror. But it was our advantage that on a pond there were trees, leaves and stuff like this. You skated and kept running into things. This taught you to keep balance. I didn’t fall. Even when I ran into something, I was caught off balance but didn’t fall. This was a huge benefit for me into future, because whenever I stumbled on someone else’s stick or when someone wanted to trip me up, I could cope. I didn’t mind. I was used to it from my youth. The pond taught me to skate excellently.”

  • “No one cared what we ate, that was quite out of the question. This was the business of each of the players. Our duty was to perform well and train properly. We had good conditions. But what we ate or didn’t eat? We drove to Prague to play against Sparta. And we were given CZK 100. Get something to eat. But no one cared what we ate. CZK 100 was enough for a good meal, it was not little. You could have a schnitzel with potatoes, a salad, a soup and paid CZK 40. For CZK 50 you could eat really a lot, if you wanted. Some ate, some not, depending on what they were used to. Today, it’s completely different, you cannot really compare it.”

  • “It was an experience with the Russians indeed. Naturally, we were aware of the political situation. We knew that if we lost to Canada or the United States nothing much would happen. But that if we beat the Russians that would be something. Well, and then there were the demonstrations in the Wenceslas Square. I told myself that I was virtually a dissident. We caused it, we were the dissidents. But let me tell you that I really had a problem when the situation calmed down. Then there were the so-called street committees. We won the National Cup and as a reward were given a trip to the sea to Yugoslavia. But we had to pay the trip for our wives and needed a permit for them to go. We, players, got the permit with the prize. So I went to the street committee. I told what I wanted. The man there told me I took part in demonstrations after the match against Russians that we had won 2:0. I told him I had taken no part in the demonstrations since I was in Sweden at that time and scored the second goal – just in spite of people like him. Eventually I got the permit for my wife. But you see what some people responded like back home.”

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We knew we had to beat the Russians

V reprezentačním dresu, rok 1969
V reprezentačním dresu, rok 1969
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Josef Černý was born on October 18, 1939, in Rožmitál pod Třemšínem. Beside him, his parents had eight daughters. His hobby in skating on a local pond developed into a full-time job. As a promising sportsman he was chosen by the ice-hockey club in Pilsen. Then he was transferred to Rudá hvězda [Red Star] Brno, where he stayed from 1958 to 1978. At that time he belonged among the ice-hockey elite. His is the first Czechoslovakian ice hockey player to have scored over four hundred goals in the league. He represented Czechoslovakia at twelve world championships. He was a member of a team that beat the Soviet team in 1969, which was widely seen by the public as a symbolic victory over the Soviet Union which then occupied Czechoslovakia. In 1972 he chose to end his career in the national team. Later he regretter the decision as the team won the gold at the world championship shortly after. He worked as a coach and a player in foreign clubs. For five years he trained ice-hockey players in Italy, where he learned about the events of November 1989. He returned to Brno, worked in ice-hockey clubs and dedicated time to his hobby, keeping of postal pigeons.