The book to the right is the IIHF's just released beautiful 228 page coffee table book, World of Hockey: Celebrating a Century of the IIHF. Power writer Andrew Podnieks is behind the project, with contributions from many international hockey experts, including my buddies Lucas Aykroyd and Patrick Houda.
Folks, I REALLY enjoyed this book. It is one of the most educational titles I've seen in quite some time, but it is also just a beautiful production. I have a full book review at Hockey Book Reviews.com.
This production certainly eases my recent disdain of the IIHF. I'm still upset at that their decision to name only 6 players to their all world, all time centennial all star team. What an opportunity wasted to celebrate many great hockey talents, many of whom are not well known outside of their own countries or even to modern fans in their own countries.
With that in mind I'm bound and determined to increase my international content here at Greatest Hockey Legends.com, and I have begun starting with this tennis player. He's not just any tennis player, he's a 5 time grand slam winner including your 1954 Wimbledon men's champion, representing the country of Egypt. You're probably thinking "what the hell?" right about now, but this man is Jaroslav Drobny, a two sport star who started out better known as a world champion hockey star from Czechoslovakia, but made a tough decision to leave his county and hockey behind. It's a truly fascinating story.
Even more amazing, Drobny's teammate was Vladimir Zabrodsky, both on the ice and on the tennis court. Zabrodsky also competed in Davis Cup action and he and Drobny dueled on the ice for the unofficial title of top hockey player in all of Czechoslovakia for a decade. Zabrodsky also has a fascinating story, a suspicious one of conduct that costs him his legacy on the ice. He would later move to Stockholm and become a tennis instructor.
Drobny and Zabrodsky are the two of the newest additions over at a revamped International Hockey Legends chapter. Another addition is Jaroslav Jirik, who in 1970, a full three years before Borje Salming came to the NHL, was the first European player from behind the Iron Curtain to play in the National Hockey League. And I also take a look at the Soviet player who personified the Russian Bear image more than anyone else - Alexander Ragulin.
I also have taken a look at the international careers of some of the NHL's most recent talents, including Canada's Sean Burke, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros, Mark Messier, and USA's Tony Amonte.