Friday, October 2, 2009


Arthur, you are right as usual even when you "just guessing". This last post goalie is Czechoslovakian Jiri Crha who defected to Canada in 1979 to join Maple Leafs.

The member of Czechoslovakia team at four World Championships he represented his country in 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
I remember one funny moment (but not that funny for Jiri). During one game (against the USA I guess) it was an action deep in the USA zone. Suddenly to everyone surprise the game was stopped. It took some seconds to realize that the reason to stop the game was - Jiri Crha who was standing with "Ken Dryden famous pose" for a long time. Somehow he managed to fall down (stepping on coin I guess) so badly that he had his leg broken. Again, during the game at the opposite end (!).
This injury was the bad one, Jiri was able to come back to the Czech national team in 1978 only just to fled to the NHL one year latter.

He played until 1993 in Germany. He was 43 years old when he decided to finish his career. It's not necessary to add that we in the Soviet Union had know idea what happened to Jiri from 1979 - he simply "disappeared" from hockey surface by this time.

2/16/80 Jiri Crha becomes the first goaltender to defect to play in the NHL after Curt Ridley was injured. He was 8-7-0 in the 1979-80 season and played well enough to convince the Toronto Maple Leafs to trade Mike Palmateer. He went 20-20-11 in 1980-81 before a disastrous playoff series against the Islanders where he allowed 11 goals in 65 minutes across 3 games.

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