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RIP: Jaroslav Jiřík

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07-11-2011, 03:43 PM
R.I.P. Pavol.
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RIP: Jaroslav Jiřík

The guy who paved the way for Czechs and Slovaks in the NHL died in a plane crash today.

PRAGUE (AP) — Jaroslav Jirik, the first Czech who was officially allowed to play in the NHL during the country's communist era, has died. He was 71.

Officials say Jirik died Monday in a crash of his ultralight plane in the city of Brno, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Prague.

Police say Jirik's one-seat plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the Brno Medlanky airport and caught fire.

The Light Aircraft Association of the Czech Republic confirmed Jirik was killed in the crash.

Association president Jan Brskovsky said Jirik was "an experienced pilot" and the exact cause of the accident is not immediately known.

Born Dec. 10, 1939, Jirik was the first ice hockey player from a communist country to be allowed by authorities to join an NHL club.

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07-11-2011, 11:55 PM
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