Czech hockey pioneer Josef Augusta, who after a tremendous playing career with the national team later became their coach, died today in Jihlava at the age of 70, after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.
Augusta, a career member of HC Dukla Jihlava of the Czech league, first joined the senior men’s team for the 1969 World Championships, suiting up for three more Worlds, as well as both the Olympics and Canada Cup in 1976. Augusta had the distinction of medalling at all tournaments he participated in, winning silver at the 1974, 1975 and 1978 Worlds, as well as both his 1976 events, adding a bronze at the 1969 Worlds. Augusta was the primary assist in the Narodnitym’s legendary 1-0 victory over Canada at the Canada Cup, before falling to them in the final.
After retiring in 1982, Augusta immediately joined the coaching staff of Dukla Jihlava, with his tenure earning him the honour of joining the national team staff as an Assistant Coach in 1999, becoming Head Coach in 2000. Augusta was on the coaching staff for three consecutive Czech Gold medals at the 1999, 2000 and 2001 World Championships, and was behind the bench for both the 2002 Worlds and Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Augusta held the IHLC four times as a player (starting with the 1969 Worlds), and held a perfect record as coach, capturing the IHLC seven times in the five tournaments he was behind the Czech bench. Our condolences go out to the Augusta family, and the Czech hockey community at large, for the loss of this tremendous figure in Czech hockey history.