Patera, Procházka…and then the puck was shaking viciously in the net. Whoever saw it will not forget. The last minute of the final period of the 1996 World Cup has an indelible golden tinge for Czech hockey. The group from the heart of Europe then became world champions in Vienna after an eleven-year wait.
It was almost a home tournament for the selection of coach Luděk Bukač. The former Hapsburg metropolis changed into Czech flags for two weeks and the fans enjoyed playful hockey. There were jokes and well-being in the cabin of the national team, the disturbing elements were preventively drowned in the beautiful blue Danube.
“Vienna was a gift for us coaches. Tournament without a single problem, without complications, without conflict or breaking the rules. They trained voluntarily, everyone arrived on time to prepare for the match. I slept well every night, which I had never been lucky before, “said coach Bukač in the book “My Hockey Century.”
The famous coach was also at the title in 1985, but this time he led the national team in completely different conditions. In the 1990s, wild capitalism invaded Czech hockey and the new order shook years of certainty. The best players wandered behind a large puddle, others wandered around Europe.
Bukač tried to give space to a new generation of hockey players on his last national team. In Vienna, the Kladno squadron of Pavel Patera, Martin Procházka and Otakar Vejvoda excelled in full force. Watching the interplay of these three was a bite for hockey connoisseurs.
It is no wonder that Procházka and Patera also won the winning goal in the last minute of the final with Canada. “The match didn’t work out for us at all, as we got both goals as a line. Nevertheless, Mr. Bukač still trusted us and sent us to the ice for this last change,” Patera recalled years later. The Czechs eventually celebrated gold after winning 4-2.
The team had more pulls: Roman Turek stood in the goal, Michal Sýkora shone in the defence, Robert Lang shot in the attack. However, twenty-five-year-old captain Robert Reichel played a key role. The coming golden generation could not find a more suitable leader. “He was a genuine team player and was able to clear the team of distractions,” Bukac said of Reichel. “I didn’t come first, he sacrificed for us. It was a character,” the coach added.
On the contrary, he did not take another exceptional individuality to Vienna – Vladimír Růžička. Somehow he was uncomfortable with the then Slavia star and preferred players more willing to adapt the personal interests of the whole.
By the way, celebrations…people celebrated (in Prague mainly on Wenceslas Square). And the then Prime Minister Václav Klaus went into the player’s locker room. The ensuing champagne shower, which the politician took with a smile, was said to have not been spontaneous: Klaus had even put on his old jacket before.
05:29 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Thomas (Perreault, Galley)
07:49 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Lang (Kadlec)
14:40 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Green, elbowing
17:42 – 🇨🇦 PEN – Friesen, slashing
26:02 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Lang (Reichel, Kysela)
29:40 – 🇨🇦 GOAL – Thomas (Joseph)
47:05 – 🇨🇿 PEN – Procházka, hooking
59:41 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Procházka (Patera)
59:42 – 🇨🇦 PEN – team, too many players
59:54 – 🇨🇿 EN PP GOAL – Kučera
W: 🇨🇿 Turek (20-22)
L: 🇨🇦 Joseph (25-28)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇨🇿 10+10+8 = 28
🇨🇦 8+6+8 = 22
🇨🇿 Goaltenders: Roman Čechmánek, Roman Turek. Defence: František Kaberle, Drahomír Kadlec, Stanislav Neckář, Antonín Stavjaňa, Michal Sýkora, Jiří Veber, Jiří Vykoukal. Forwards: Radek Bělohlav, Radek Bonk, Jiří Kučera (A), Robert Kysela, Robert Lang (A), Roman Meluzín, Pavel Patera, Martin Procházka, Robert Reichel (C), Viktor Ujčík, Otakar Vejvoda, David Výborný.
🇨🇦 Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur, Curtis Joseph. Defence: Doug Bodger (A), Steve Duchesne, Garry Galley, Derek Mayer, Luke Richardson, Darryl Sydor, Glen Wesley. Forwards: Andrew Cassels, Jason Dawe, Ray Ferraro (A), Jeff Friesen, Travis Green, Jean-François Jomphe, Paul Kariya, David Matsos, Brad May, Dean McAmmond, Yanic Perreault, Steve Thomas (C).
|🇨🇿 CZECHIA (C)||vs.||CANADA 🇨🇦|
(since 23 Apr 1996)
||05 May 1995|
(+ 7 ties)
|First IHLC Meeting (CZE vs. CAN)
🇨🇦 CAN 15-0 TCH 🇨🇿 – 24 Apr 1920 – OG – Antwerp 🇧🇪
|Previous IHLC Meeting (CZE vs. CAN)
🇨🇦 CAN 6-4 TCH 🇨🇿 – 03 Nov 1991 – EX – Ústí nad Labem 🇨🇿
|Last IHLC Game
🇨🇿 CZE 5-0 USA 🇺🇸 – 03 May 1996 – WC – Vienna 🇦🇹
|Next IHLC Game
🇸🇪 SWE 4-2 CZE 🇨🇿 – 16 Aug 1996 – EX – Zlín 🇨🇿