HC VÍTKOVICE RIDERA
Celebrates Seventy Years
Since the First Gold for Ostrava
It has recently been exactly seventy years since the moment all hockey fans of HC VÍTKOVICE
RIDERA like to remember. At that time, Sokol Vítkovické Železárny managed to dominate
the highest domestic competition for the first time and win one of the most valuable titles in its
rich history for Vítkovice. The original match was remembered in special retro jerseys worn by
RIDERA players in a match with Kometa Brno. ‘We wanted to pay tribute to our first champions.
In 1952, Vítkovice won the first gold from Ostrava in one of its great sports. It is a key date not
only for the club, but also for the city’, recalls Zdeněk Janiurek, a historian of hockey Vítkovice.
On Friday, 25 February 2022, Vítkovice hockey
experienced great fame. In replicas of historical
jerseys in the match with Kometa Brno, hockey
players HC VÍTKOVICE RIDERA paid tribute to
the first champions from 1952. The people of
Ostrava competed in the red-yellow jerseys of Sokol
VŽKG. In such a team, player-coach Vladimír Bouzek
and captain Ladislav Staňek won a historic triumph
in January 1952 for the Vítkovice club as well as for
Ostrava and the entire region.
‘Tribute to the 1952 champions’ ran the subtitle of
this ceremonial match HC VÍTKOVICE RIDERA – HC
Kometa Brno. Vítkovice won its first championship
title on 19 January 1952, so the celebration took place
seventy years and one month later. After almost two
years, the people of Ostrava returned to the home
ice and with them the fans went to the arena. After
the first wave of relaxation of the COVID measures,
the club was able to use about half of the maximum
capacity of the OSTRAVAR ARENA, 5,416 spectators.
The celebration of the seventieth anniversary of
the first championship title of the Vítkovice club
could thus have a dignified backdrop. ‘Originally,
we had a celebration scheduled for the January
date so that it would be based almost exactly on
the seventieth anniversary of winning the title. But
when new epidemic measures again significantly
reduced the number of spectators at public events in
November, we tried to move it to the end of February.
And we practically prayed that the fans would be able
to go back to the stands then. We were lucky that it
worked out that way for us’, notes Janiurek.
From the historical team that recorded this great
success, only one member, Zdeněk Návrat, was still
alive to witness this festive rematch. This ninety-yearold, six-time Czechoslovak champion, participant
in the 1956 Olympic Games and champion in
the Vítkovice jersey from 1952, however, was unable
to attend the match due to health reasons. Instead, he
sent a video greeting to the players and fans present
at a distance. ‘Unfortunately, my health did not allow
me to attend the celebration directly at the ice rink.
But at least I can greet everyone at such a distance
and I wish the celebration a success’, he said, his
message airing on the cube before the match.
The Vítkovice A-team had already donned
the historical form of jerseys during pre-match
training. The set included both jerseys and socks and
brown trouser covers, which were supposed to evoke
the leather look of hockey uniforms from more than
half a century ago. The original feature jerseys went
to a public auction after the match.
Kometa Brno, its direct predecessor Rudá Hvězda,
did not operate in the highest competition in 1952
(it was founded in 1953), however, Brno hockey was
represented in the 1951/1952 season in the form
of two teams: Králova Pole and Zbrojovka Brno.
Zbrojovka was one of Vítkovice's rivals in the final
Overall, this special event was a success. HC
VÍTKOVICE RIDERA managed to beat their rival
from Brno 4:2 and the match was watched directly
in the arena by 5,325 enthusiastic spectators.
‘It simply came to our notice then. The celebration
was a great result on the ice as well. The fans enjoyed
the match and we are convinced that the members of
the championship party from 1952 would be proud
of us’, added Janiurek.
Foto: Petr Kotala
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