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Hockey sticks for golden boys were made in Rychnov. Their dreams were buried by uranium mines

At the end of Rychnovské Chaloupek is house No. 393, where wheelwright Oldřich Šklíba (1902 to 1982), a hockey stick manufacturer for the Czechoslovak national team from 1947 to 1949, lived and had his workshop. In 1949, the legendary Boža Modrý played, Oldřich Šklíba even had a patent.

Sport bodywork Sklíba.

| Photo: courtesy of Josef Krám

Let’s transcribe the almost illegible words from a period colored photograph of goalkeepers Boža Modrý and Josef Jirka, on which Boža Modrý wrote to him:

I completed the 1949 World Championship in Stockholm with the goalkeeper stick “Š” and it was a great helper, especially during the historic Czechoslovak-Sweden final match. It’s a perfect stick of Czech. production that will finally match and surpass the Canadian sticks. Ing. Blue God.

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In November 1948, the national team was severely affected by the death of six members in a plane crash over the English Channel and lost other players to emigration in February. Despite these losses, it was able to complete a three-year streak at the World Championships in Stockholm, during which it won two world championship titles, three European championships and silver medals from the Winter Olympics.

Upon their return, our “golden boys” received honors, ovations and recognition for their achievements, even from the highest representatives of the post-February regime.

But then came the year 1950. Our national team was honestly preparing for the World Championship in London, where they wanted to defend their championship. Boža Modrý was also nominated for the final lineup, but the trip to the city on the Thames did not fly.

Hockey stick from Rychnov workshop.Hockey stick from Rychnov workshopSource: with the permission of Josef Krám

On Saturday, March 11, 1950, they were recalled from the Ruzyne airport, had to return home, and the departure was postponed to Monday. On Monday, when the opening ceremony of the World Cup was taking place in London, they were arrested by the StB and accused of trying to emigrate. And although the prosecutors failed to prove the hockey players’ intention to emigrate, they were all charged and sentenced on October 7, 1950: Boža Modrý for 15 years, Gustav Bubník for 14 years, Stanislav Konipásek for 12 years, Václav Roziňák and Vladimír Kobranov for 10 years, goalkeeper Josef Jirka for 6 years.

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The hockey players were locked up in the prison in Pilsen na Bory until the summer and then transferred to the uranium mines in Jáchymov, where like other prisoners they worked without any ongoing control, measurement and monitoring of radioactive radiation. Boža Modrý worked in the shaft and on the surface.

The civilian profession of a construction engineer helped him get out of Jáchymov after a while, but not from prison. He worked in the project group of the Ministry of the Interior, which worked in the prisons in Opava and in Pankrác in Prague.

The life of his wife Erika Modrá after his arrest was not easy, she was left alone with her two daughters Blanka and Alena. For five years she waited for her man to get out of crime, and for the next eight years she watched him slowly die. Ing. Bohumil Modrý died on July 21, 1963 at the age of 47.

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