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Former Blue And First Czech In The NHL Jaroslav Jirik Passes Away

Jaroslav Jirik, who was the first Czechoslovakian player in the NHL, passed away on Monday at the age of 71 in a plane crash. The crash took place near his hometown of Brno, in the present day Czech Republic.

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Jirik played three games in the 1969-1970 season for the Blues, not scoring any points. He spent most of that season with the Blues' CHL affiliate in Kansas City, where he had 19 goals and 16 assists in 53 games played.

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He was more famous for protesting his nation's communist rule than what he did on the NHL ice, though. At the 1968 IIFC World Championships, he covered the crest on his uniform - and other teammates followed suit - to protest the crushing of the anti-communist rule by the Soviet Union.

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He won a silver medal that same year in the 1968 Olympic Games that were hosted in Grenoble, France. Four years prior to that, the Czech team took home the bronze meda. His lifetime totals for international play were 83 goals in 134 games, while he scored 300 goals in 450 games while playing in the Czechoslovak Extraliga.

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