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11-24-2012, 09:02 PM
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When I say that Czechoslovakia was probably the best in Europe at producing goalies, here is a quick example:

From 1971-1990, there were 17 World Championships. Each tournament is a small sample, but I think all of them together is a pretty significant sample. This time frame more or less covers the golden era of European hockey before the fall of the Iron Curtain and the European influx into the NHL.

In that time:

9/17 Directorate "Best Goalie" awards went to the Czech goalie (5 to Jiri Holecek, 2 to Jiri Kralik, 2 to Dominik Hasek). 4/17 went to the USSR (3 to Vladislav Tretiak, 1 to Arturs Irbe). 3/17 went to Sweden (2 to Peter Lindmark, 1 to Göran Högosta). 1/17 went to Finland (Jorma Valtanen).

10/17 Media All Star Awards went to the Czech goalie (5 to Jiri Holecek, 3 to Dominik Hasek, 2 to Jiri Kralik), 4/17 went to Sweden (2 to Peter Lindmark, 1 to Goran Hogosta, 1 to Curt Larsson). 3/17 went to the USSR (all to Vladislav Tretiak).

Kralik and Hasek weren't Holecek's direct competition (Kralik started around when Holecek finished), but I think it points to a trend of great goalies coming out of Czechoslovakia.

Holecek's most notable actual domestic competition were Vladimir Dzurilla, who anecdotally seems to be the 3rd best goalie in Europe in the 1970s (behind Tretiak and Holecek) and Crha, who I didn't know anything about until a few days ago, but apparently was a solid NHL starter in his early 30s after coming over.

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