Vladimir Kostka, born on 20th August 1922, passed away on 18th September 2009. Kostka was one of the most successful coaches in the history of Czechoslovakian hockey. Together with Jaroslav Pitner – who passed away in March this year – he led the CSSR team to the historic World Championship gold in 1972 on home ice in Prague.
The Czechoslovakian victory, only four years after the Soviet-led Warsaw-Pact invasion, was fifth on the IIHF’s list of the 100 Top Ice Hockey Stories of the Century, which was produced in conjunction with the IIHF’s Centennial in 2008. The 1972 gold broke the Soviets’ world-record nine consecutive World ice hockey titles.
Also under the guidance of Pitner and Kostka, Czechoslovakia beat the Soviet team, 2-0 and 4-3, during the 1969 IIHF World Championships in Stockholm, the year after the Soviet Union had sent troops into Czechoslovakia. Those games, which are listed 18th on IIHF’s Top-100 list, were arguably the most emotionally charged international games ever played.
Kostka also led the team to the bronze medal at the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble and silver at the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo and to four silver and four bronze medals at the World Championships.
He played forward between 1938 and 1954 in the Czechoslovakian league. After the end of his coaching career, he was the President of the Czechoslovakian Ice Hockey Federation from 1981 to 1988 and was a long-time member of the IIHF Coaches Committee.
Kostka was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1997.