It was announced today that Miloš Říha, the current coach of the Czech men’s national hockey team, shockingly passed away in Prague at the age of 61. The cause of death is unknown at this time.
Říha, who spent his fifteen year playing career all in the Czech Extraliga, started coaching as a player-assistant wth Hodonin in 1989. He joined the Top Division with Zlín as an assistant in 1991, taking over as head coach in 1993. He would serve as coach with Pardubice, Karlovy Vary and Sparta Praha before joining Slovan Bratislava in 2001, his first of three stints with the Belasí. Říha made the jump to Russia with Mytishchi in 2005, returning to Pardubice from 2006-08 before joining Spartak Moskva of the newly-formed KHL. Říha spent four seasons with Spartak, part of another season in Mytishchi, two seasons with SKA Saint Petersburg and three seasons with Slovan, his final pro coaching job; he also served as Coach and General Manager of Pardubice in 2012-13. The ever-nomadic Říha was a two-time Slovak Extraliga Champion (2002, 2005), Czech Extraliga Coach Of The Year (1997) and KHL Coach Of The Year (2011).
Říha, who spent all of his playing career and most of his coaching career in Czechia, did not get the chance to coach the national team until 2018, when he took over the reins of the Narodnitym for the 2018-19 Euro Hockey Tour, in addition to the 2019 World Championship, where the Czechs fell in a shootout in the Bronze Medal Game. Říha was coaching the squad for the 2019-20 EHT as well, where the Czechs were atop the tournament table (and current holders of the IHLC) as of the cancellation of the Carlson Hockey Games due to COVID-19.
Our condolences go out to the Říha family, as well as the extended hockey communities in Czechia, Slovakia and Russia, on the sudden and shocking death of this coaching giant, gone far too young.