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Another Prague bronze. How the Czechs destroyed the howling Germans

In 1938, Prague hosted the second World Championship. The winter stadium in Štvanice underwent modernization in the amount of a respectable two million crowns. Bohumil Modrý et al. they defeated the Americans for the first time in history, but Canada enjoyed the overall lead. President Edvard Beneš personally cheered on the home team. But it was already getting dark over Czechoslovakia and all of Europe, which was also illustrated by the howling of the German hockey players. You will learn this and much more in the second part of the thematic series Deník, which maps hockey championships in the Czech Republic.

Another Prague bronze. How the Czechs destroyed the howling Germans

| Photo: CTK

Tough draw for the home side

“Both Loicq (president of the International Ice Hockey Association) and Poplimont (association secretary and treasurer) are astute sports diplomats and well known in Czechoslovakia since 1925 when they organized the European Championships at Štrbské pleso, while Poplimont, who is also known as a fencer, played defender in the Belgian national team. Both of them arrived in Prague this evening, which means that both the congress and the game plan of the championship will be well prepared,” Lidové noviny wrote two days before the start of the hockey championship.

History of championships on Czech territory
part 2. – 1938

Medal standings:
1. Canada
2. Great Britain
3. Czechoslovakia

The biggest cannonade of the tournament:
Switzerland – Lithuania 15:0

Venue:
Štvanice winter stadium

Total viewers:
unknown

The newspaper article clearly demonstrates the game plan of the tournament at the time, which was decided practically simultaneously with the outbreak of the whole event. The second World Cup that Prague ever hosted began on February 11, 1938 and culminated on February 20. A total of fourteen teams participated in the sports battles. On the basis of a relatively unfavorable draw for the home team, Canada, Sweden and Austria awaited the Czechoslovaks.


In 1933, the World Hockey Championship was held on Czech territory for the first time.

Masaryk congratulated the Americans, the WC in 1933 was (almost) only for the chosen ones

The squad underwent numerous changes compared to the composition of the domestic championship in 1933. The team was managed from the bench by Canadian Mike Buckna, who had, for example, goalkeeper Bohumil Modry, excellent forward Josef Maleček, or dentist Jaroslav Pušbauer, who participated in his twelfth World Cup in his career.

The matches of the national team within the tournament often brought very balanced games. In the basic group, the home team managed to defeat the Austrians 1:0, the duel with the Swedes ended in a 0:0 draw after extra time. Yes, you read that right. Although the scoreless game was extended, the rules did not state that it had to be played in the set time until the decision, and raids were not yet practiced. Canada won the subsequent duel 3:0.

Envoys of the Third Reich

In the next phase, however, an unexpected success came in the match against the Americans, whom the Czechoslovaks defeated 2:0 and won over them for the first time in history. The win over the Swiss, which was personally watched by President Edvard Beneš, an ardent athlete, was followed by a loss to Great Britain, whose squad consisted mainly of naturalized Canadians. The battle for bronze with Germany was approaching.

“In the 4th minute, Troják drives through, goes around the goal, plays back, where Zd. Jirotka releases the puck to Cetkovský. He shoots, the puck bounces off Schibukat and ends up in the net of a surprised Egginger,” the editor of Venkov (the Agrarian Party newspaper at the time) described the Czechoslovaks’ first goal in detail. In the end, the home team won over the western neighbor 3:0 and finished the same as five years ago on the bronze stage.


Fan euphoria will flood the entire Czech Republic during the World Cup in May

The 2024 World Hockey Championship program: When will the Czechs compete and the complete schedule of the tournament

The match against Germany, in which the Nazis ruled since 1933, had a charge other than the sporting one. The German representatives, for example, greeted the spectators with cheers. In connection with the increasingly tense situation in the Czechoslovak borderland and Hitler’s aggressive foreign policy, the Czechoslovaks must have been at least twice as happy about the victory.

The final tussle between Canada and Great Britain saw its resolution already in the first period, after which the overseas team, whose players came from the Sudbury Wolves team, led 3-1. The goal tally of the match did not increase after the next two periods and the Javorov Leaf hockey players could celebrate.

Entrance fees

The cheapest tickets could be purchased by a sports enthusiast for 5 crowns, but they were standing room tickets, and with a better location in the auditorium and possibly a seat, the price rose, up to tens of crowns. For which of the professions was the given sum a pakatel? The First Republic valued teachers who enjoyed high social credit, for which they were duly rewarded. Their monthly earnings were most often around 1,800 to 3,800 CZK. Gendarmes, officials and soldiers also received solid fees. Such a trade union council at the ministry could earn up to 4,000 crowns.

Championship stars

Bohumil Modrý
One of the most famous Czechoslovak goalkeepers and a two-time world champion from 1947 and 1949, who played at the club level in the colors of LTC Praha. During twelve years, he caught 71 national team matches. In his time, many considered him to be the best goalkeeper in Europe. He also excelled in handball, where he played as a center forward in SK Slavia’s jersey. Even before the war, the Canadians lured him across the ocean, but he did not look at “God” there. On the other hand, hard moments awaited him in his homeland, where he was convicted after February 1948 in a fabricated trial against hockey players. The sentence was 15 years behind bars, the “outcast” condemned by the communists was released in 1955. Forced labor and hard work in the uranium mines took a toll on his health. He died in 1963 as a result of imprisonment at the premature age of 47.

John Godfrey
A native of Toronto, multi-sport talent, and above all, an excellent hockey back. He got into hockey in his hometown with the Toronto Marlboro Bantams. He later joined the Sudbury Wolves squad, becoming the team’s captain. He also wore the Céčko on his chest at the 1938 World Cup, where he entered the scoring list in the final and thus contributed to the overall championship at the tournament. Later, he also threw himself into the career of an official when he founded the Peterborough Legion team, with which he won the title in the local league, of which he was later president for eight years. Godfrey’s activities were hampered by an eye injury after being hit by a high stick. The Canadian world champion died in 1986.

Rudy Ball
A striker with Jewish origins in the jersey of Nazi Germany. This forward actually figured in the German selection for the World Cup in Prague in 1938. It was a time when the Nuremberg Laws had been in force for a few years, which discriminated against specific racial groups, especially Jews. The son of a Jewish mother began to have problems in his homeland in 1935. The following year he was initially absent from the squad for the home Olympics in Ga-Pa, but another German star – Gustav Jaenecke – interceded for him. Ball eventually took part, starting in the important group game against the Italians, in which he scored a 3-0 goal in front of captains Rudolf Hess and Joseph Goebbels. Rudi survived the war, but his aunt Hulda was not so lucky. Ball breathed his last in 1975 in Johannesburg. Less than three decades later, he was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.

What might you not have known?

The underdogs of the tournament were the Austrians. For reasons that are not entirely understandable, they were not allowed to play extra time after a tie with the Swedes, which led to the elimination of the Austrians. Although the Alpine country at least managed to participate in the Prague championship, the map in Hermann Göring’s study seemed to foretell its end, in which this state was no longer present. Unfortunately, the Nazi plans soon came to fruition. Shortly after the end of the tournament, on March 12, 1938, the so-called Anschluss of Austria took place, which was annexed to the German Empire under duress. The black scenario later came true in Czechoslovakia as well…

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