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02-03-2012, 05:15 PM
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Jan Suchý

Nickname: The European Bobby Orr, Souska
Height: 5'9''
Weight: 170 lbs
Position: Defense
Shoots: Left
Date of Birth: October 10, 1944
Place of Birth: Havlickuv Brod , Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakian Extraliga Champion (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)
WEC-A Silver Medalist (1965, 1966, 1971)
WEC-A Bronze Medalist (1969, 1970, 1973)
WEC-A All-Star Team (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971)
Olympic Silver Medalist (1968)
Olympic All-Star Team (1968)
WEC-A Best Defenceman (1969, 1971)
Golden Hockey Stick (1969, 1970)
Czech Hockey Hall of Fame (2008)
IIHF Hall of Fame (2009)

Czechoslovakian Hockey League:

* site wrote Suchy's stats as follow: 561GP, 164G, 221A, 385PTS, 351PIM*
*The Book 'King of the Ice' wrote Suchy's partial stats as follow: 562GP, 162G*
*The site '' wrote Suchy's stats as follow: 562GP, 162G, 221A, 383PTS*
No Data:
Game Played: 1963-1968, 1970-1974, 1976-1977
Goals: 1963-1966
Assists: 1963-1967
Penalty minutes: 1963-1969, 1970-1974, 1976-1977

Top-10 Scoring (1st, 3rd)
Top-10 Goalscoring (2nd, 10th)
Top-10 Assist (1st, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 11th)
Top-10 Penalty minutes (6th on 32*1969-70*)

Top-5 Scoring Among Defenceman (1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th)
Top-5 Goalscoring Among Defenceman (1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th)
Top-5 Assist Among Defenceman (1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 5th)
Top-5 Penalty minutes Among Defenceman (5th on 10 *1969-70*)

World and European Championship & Olympic:

No Data:
Penalty minutes: 1967, 1974

Top-10 Scoring (4th, 10th)
Top-10 Goalscoring (4th, 9th)
Top-10 Assist (2nd, 10th, 11th)
Top-10 Penalty minutes (5th, 9th)

Top-5 Scoring Among Defenceman (1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd)
Top-5 Goalscoring Among Defenceman (1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th)
Top-5 Assist Among Defenceman (1st, 1st, 1st, 3rd)
Top-5 Penalty minutes Among Defenceman (3rd, 5th)

Awards Nomination:

Golden Hockey Stick

1. Jan Suchý
2. Jaroslav Jirík
3. Jaroslav Holik
4. Jiri Holik
5. Vladimir Dzurilla
6. Vaclav Nedomansky
7. Frantisek Pospisil
8. Jozef Golonka

1. Jan Suchy
2. Josef Cerny
3. Vaclav Nedomansky
4. Vladimir Dzurilla
5. Frantisek Pospisil
6. Jaroslav Holik
7. Jiri Kochta
8. Jiri Holik

1. Frantisek Pospisil
2. Jan Suchy
3. Vaclav Nedomansky
4. Josef Cerny
5. Jiri Holecek
6. Richard Farda
7. Jiri Holik
8. Ivan Hlinka

“Team of the Century” - Newspaper Sport

1. Jaromír Jágr
2. Dominik Hašek
3. Vladimír Martinec
4. Jan Suchý
Many thought Jan Suchy should of won the award for the best defenceman of the World Championship in 1970, including the winner himself, Lennard Svedberg. When "Lill-Strimma" skated out to accept his award he immidiately went over to Suchy and patted him on the back to tell him that the jury didn't know what they were doing and that Suchy and nobody else deserved the award.

Professional Career:

Originally Posted by 1972 Summit Series
Many times called the European Bobby Orr, Jan Suchy controlled games like no other European defenseman before him. His rink length rushes on the ice became legendary back home in Czechoslovakia. Suchy was one of very few defensemen who could get people out of their seats. Although he was a heavy smoker it never affected his fitness.

Never before had anyone in Europe seen a defenseman as complete as Suchy. He could do it all. He was a great skater who could set the pace of a game in the same fashion as a Bobby Orr or Doug Harvey. Suchy was virtually a fourth forward on the ice with his fine technique, vision and skating. He not only excelled offensively but did it defensively as well. Suchy was also a master shotblocker who never hesitated to throw his body in front of a shot. He got injured many times blocking shots.
Originally Posted by Kings Of The Ice
In his day, Jan Suchy was the best defenceman in Europe. He was the Czechs' answer to Bobby Orr or Doug Harvey.

Suchy was an excellent skater and made sacrifices as a defenseman to set his teammates up with a play. He was the first in Europe to use his body to stop goals in front of his net, and he could let go a mean shot at the other end of the rink as well. [...](He) had few equals in more ways than one.

He was one of the few defenseman who could make spectators get up out of their seats.

But his unhealthy habit (smoking) didn't appear to affect his physical condition. He was a terrific player right up until the age of 40.

Growing up with him were other future legends of Czech Hockey - brothers Jaroslav and Jiri Holik and Josef Augusta, among others. All were known for their toughness, fighting spirit and harsh personalities.
Originally Posted by
The ceremony will see two of international hockey’s greatest defensemen being honored, with Jan Suchy and Alexei Kasatonov joining the IIHF Hall of Fame.

Jan Suchy was without any doubt the most outstanding international defenseman in the late 60s and early 70s. Suchy represented his country 160 times (five IIHF World Championships and the 1968 Olympics) and was the first in Europe to make shot blocking an art.

Suchy will be also remembered for his spectacular offensive game that prompted many to call him the “Bobby Orr of Europe”.
Originally Posted by The Hockey News Century of Hockey: A Season-Byseason Celebration
Small and slight, like Hall of Famer Pierre Pilote, he specialized in scoring off the trailer pass.
Originally Posted by David Luksu (the author of the Czech language biography on Suchy
Jan Suchy's most famous international goal was the first one against the USSR in World European Championship, in 1969 (CSSR vs. USSR 2 to 0 - the second one scored by Josef Cerny was assisted by Suchy). Unfortunately the second game against Russia (4 to 3 for Czechoslovakia), Suchy missed it because he fractured his little finger (while blocking shot in the previous game vs. the United States).

I read somewhere that Suchy was the european Bobby Orr, and I think that it's true in some aspects. At first, he was a very smart skater (better then most of the forwards of that time), and that's why it wasn't easy to go through him. He had good positional play in defence and also great stability on skates. He wasn´t tall (170 cm), so his kind of play had to be different from the physical force practiced by giant russian defenceman like Ragulin. He played on the edge of sacrifice (blocking shots, fighting around goal etc...). When you look at these old games, you could not miss him: he was right at the center of the action, one time in defence, and than in a few seconds on the other side of ring shooting on goal. He gave everything on the ice: it's clearly visible, the pictures shows "hardworking" Suchy with the grimace of the warrior. His speciality was the sudden counter attack, he was able to recognize when it was the right time for offence and he could play like fourth forward (somebody called it false winger). He had good technical skills with his stick, but he preferred passing to his teammates (most of the time Holik brothers and Jan Klapac).

I think that Suchy wasn´t really the first one european defencemen who blocked shots (I heard that for example Frantisek Tikal did it occasionally), but he used this technique more often than anybody else before - it was a full-value part of his play. In communist Czechoslovakia there was no informations about NHL at all, so he couldn´t follow any oversea model. He is saying that he started to blocking shots by oneself.

Suchy was more passer than shooter. There wasn´t so much power in his shooting (rarely use slapshot), so he preferred his wrist shot, which was fast enough and quite accurate.
Originally Posted by
When Czechoslovakia played his second game against the USSR, they had just lost defenceman Jan Suchy, probably the best player of the tournament, who broke his finger against the Americans.Lorsque survient la seconde confrontation, les Tchécoslovaques viennent de perdre Jan Suchý, peut-ętre le meilleur joueur du tournoi, qui s'est cassé l'index contre les Américains.
Originally Posted by Reds4Life & Madarcand

- Jan Suchy was a tremendously talented hockey player, and if not for the era he lived in, he would have become an NHL star

- He was a defenseman who often acted as a "fake wing" and scored many goals from this position, some of them due to playing with smart players like Jaroslav Holik. In addition, he was the first defenseman (in Czechoslovakia, possibly Europe) who sacrificed his body to block shots

- He holds several records in the CZ extraliga (best hockey league): in 1968-69, he became the first and only defenseman to win the scoring title (56 points - 30 goals, 26 assists). Other records include a hat-trick in 47 seconds (against Košice) or a 9 point game (5 goals and 4 assists), in the game against České Budějovice in 1969

Resume of these two Czechoslovakian articles:

The 1969 World Championship:

Originally Posted by Dreakmur
In 1969, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia played two of "the most emotionally charged games in the history of international hockey" (as per IIHF Top 100 stories) and won them both! Jan Suchy was front and centre in both victories (as proven by his All Star and Best Defenseman awards), and he even scored the all-important first goal (and winning goal) in the 2-0 shutout.

World Championship Awards and All-Stars Defence Comparision:

Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe
1966 is approximately when the players who were in their prime for the Summit Series started to come of age and 1991 is when the Soviet Union collapsed and all the best players became consolidated in the NHL. I didn't make up these cut off points - I've seen them before on this board.

Most Times named Directorate Best Defenseman at the World Championships 1966-1991

5. Slava Fetisov
3. Valeri Vasiliev
2. Jan Suchy
2. Frantisek Pospisil

Most Times named to World Championship All Star Teams 1966-1991

9. Slava Fetisov
5. Valeri Vasiliev
5. Alexei Kasatonov
4. Jan Suchy
3. Frantisek Pospisil
3. Lennart Svedberg
2. Jiri Bubla
2. Alexander Ragulin (plus 3 more 1963-1965 for 5 total)

Jan Suchy or Alexander Ragulin?

Originally Posted by TheDevilMadeMe View Post
World Championship All Star Teams 1961-1975

1975 Vladislav Tretiak (URS) Pekka Marjamaki (FIN) Valeri Vasilyev (URS) Vladimir Martinec (TCH) Vladimir Petrov (URS) Alexander Yakushev (URS)
1974 Curt Larsson (SWE) Lars-Erik Sjoberg (SWE) Valeri Vasilyev (URS) Vladimir Martinec (TCH) Vaclav Nedomansky (TCH) Alexander Yakushev (URS)
1973 Jiri Holecek (TCH) Alexander Gusev (URS) Borje Salming (SWE) Valeri Kharlamov (URS) Boris Mikhailov (URS) Vladimir Petrov (URS)
1972 Jiri Holecek (TCH) Oldrich Machac (TCH) Frantisek Pospisil (TCH) Valeri Kharlamov (URS) Alexander Maltsev (URS) Vladimir Vikulov (URS)
1971 Jiri Holecek (TCH) Ilpo Koskela (FIN) Jan Suchy (TCH) Anatoli Firsov (URS) Alexander Maltsev (URS) Vladimir Vikulov (URS)
1970 Victor Konovalenko (URS) Jan Suchy (TCH) Lennart Svedberg (SWE) Anatoli Firsov (URS) Alexander Maltsev (URS) Vaclav Nedomansky (TCH)
1969 Vladimir Dzurilla (TCH) Jan Suchy (TCH) Lennart Svedberg (SWE) Anatoli Firsov (URS) Vaclav Nedomansky (TCH) Ulf Sterner (SWE)
1968 Ken Broderick (CAN) Jan Suchy (TCH) Lennart Svedberg (SWE) Anatoli Firsov (URS) Fran Huck (CAN) Frantisek Sevcik (TCH)
1967 Carl Wetzel (USA) Carl Brewer (CAN) Alexander Ragulin (URS) Venjamin Alexandrov (URS) Alexander Almetov (URS) Anatoli Firsov (URS)
1966 Seth Martin (CAN) Gary Begg (CAN) Alexander Ragulin (URS) Venjamin Alexandrov (URS) Fran Huck (CAN) Konstantin Loktev (URS)
1965 Vladimir Dzurilla (TCH) Alexander Ragulin (URS) Frantisek Tikal (TCH) Alexander Almetov (URS) Jaroslav Jirik (TCH) Konstantin Loktev (URS)
1964 Seth Martin (CAN) Alexander Ragulin (URS) Rod Seiling (CAN) Roger Bourbonnais (CAN) Josef Cerny (TCH) Viktor Yakushev (URS)
1963 Kjell Svensson (SWE) Alexander Ragulin (URS) Harry Smith (CAN) Hasse Mild (SWE) Adolph Tambellini (CAN) Mirolsav Vlach (TCH)
1962 Lennart Haggroth (SWE) Jack Douglas (CAN) Harry Smith (CAN) Jackie McLeod (CAN) Nisse Nilsson (SWE) Ulf Sterner (SWE)
1961 Seth Martin (CAN) Darryl Sly (CAN) Harry Smith (CAN) Michel Legacé (CAN) Boris Mayorov (URS) Mirolsav Vlach (TCH)

Ragulin was named Best Defenseman in 1965. Suchy was named best defenseman in 1969 and 1971.

From the table above, you can see just how weak competition was when Ragulin started racking up his All Stars - all those Canadians and Americans were amateurs.

You can also see how Ragulin's last year as a WC All Star was 1967. By 1968, Jan Suchy and Lennart Svedberg began a run where they owned the All Star slots and by the 1970s, competition was very strong.

From the table above, you can see just how dramatically competition improved between 1967 and 1969 as the new generation took over. Anatoli Firsov, declared by this board a top 100 player of all-time got his first All Star nod in 1967. This is also around when European teams started dominating the Worlds.

Alexander Ragulin was 26 years in 1967, the last time he was an All Star at the World Championships. He was a Soviet League All Star 9 of 11 seasons from 1961-1972, which is what his legacy is based off of. But compared to Europe as a whole, his USSR accolades seem like the result of being the big fish in a smaller pond, as he was completely overtaken by Suchy and Svedberg at the age of 27.

Conclusion: The WC All Star Teams support the anecdotal evidence that Jan Suchy was a significantly better player than Ragulin. Ragulin racked up his all-star teams against a weaker generation of players and was clearly surpassed by Suchy when he was only 27 years old.

Suchy and Svedberg both had their reigns ended by car accidents.


- ''I always been hard on myself.'' - Jan Suchy

- ''The coaches weren't pleased, but they didn't forbid me anything. They forbade others. Some of them used to smoke in my room and then we said it was me.'' - Jan Suchy, on his smoking habit

- ''Jan Suchy defined the position of the offensive defenseman in international hockey at the end of the 60's.'' - René Fasel, IIHF President

- ''Originally I planned that I would play until 50, but I quit at 45.'' - Jan Suchy

- ''Suchy always was the second goalie on the ice. He was tireless and self-sacrificing. He would block slapshots with the backside of his glove, then just take his hand out, shake it a bit, and put it back in'' - Peter Stastny

- ''I don't know if he understood what I was saying, but I wanted to let him know how much I respected him. Never in my life had I seen a better defenseman.'' - Lennard Svetberg

Fun & Interesting Facts:
- As a little kid, Jan Suchy grew up in Havlickuv Brod where he played hockey on a small frozen pond named Cihlar. There he toyed around with two other Czechoslovakian hockey legends, the Holik brothers (Jiri and Jaroslav)
- From the ages of 8 to 19, Suchý played for a local team, the Jiskra Havlíckuv Brod
- Jan Suchy played three games for the national junior soccer team
- He had Czech legend Frantisek Tikal as his defence partner in his first few World Championship
- At the end of his career, Suchy had scored more goals than any defenceman in league history
- Suchy played in Austria and Germany until 1984
- He was also the first European to be placed on an NHL protected list (by the Boston Bruins)
- Suchy played 160 games with his National team, scoring 44 goals
- Suchy is married and have three children, two sons and a daughter


- In 1971 a drunk Suchy behind the wheel was involved in a serious car accident that killed his passenger. He was sentenced by a millitary court to 18 months in jail but was released after 7 months. He was also absent from the Czechoslovakian national team in 1972 and 1973. He never was the same player after this incident.


IIHF: International Ice Hockey Federation
WEC-A: World and European Championship - Pool A

Youtube Videos:

At the 2:00 mark, Jan Suchy is #17

Internet Sites:

Special Thank You: Dreakmur, Madarcand, Reds4Life, Seventieslord, Sturminator, TheDevilMadeMe

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