May 23, 2012

Josef Cerny: International Classics

Since I have a special fascination with international hockey history, I always take extra close note of Classic Auction's international collection.

The current auction features five from the private collection of Josef Cerny. Most notable is his 1964 Olympic bronze medal. He has a few other championship medals available too, along with this beautiful game worn Czechoslovakian national team jersey from the early 1970s.

Josef Cerny was one of the top players in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s and 1970s. He played 21 seasons in the Czech league, playing 686 games, scoring 403 goals (keep in mind statistical records are sketchy at best). Seven straight years (1960 - 1966) he led his team to the national championship. He also was a regular on the national team from 1959 through 1972. He played so long he was dubbed the Czech Gordie Howe.

Cerny was born in a small Bohemian town called Rozmital. He was the only boy among the families nine children. All those sisters would drive any boy to stay out on the frozen ponds longer every passing winter. It worked well for Josef as he perfected his craft on the pond behind their house.

By the time he became a teenager it was clear he was destined for hockey stardom. By 18 he was playing in the top Czech league and by 19 he debuted with the Czechoslovakian national team that later he would became captain of.

Number 15 stood out immediately, thanks to his remarkable skating ability. The left winger formed a dangerous duo with Frantisek Vanek (Rudolf Scheuer or Ludek Bukac often played on right wing). He may not have looked like much at first, standing at just 5'8" and 170lbs and with his "crooked legs," but as soon as the puck dropped he was something to see.

After retiring as a player Cerny coach in Austria and Czechoslovakia while also taking up teaching.

Other international items up for bids in the Spring 2012 Classic Auctions offering include:

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