Other International Stars
By Patrick Houda
Vladimir Zábrodský was a Czechoslovakian giant who almost single-handedly
put hockey on the map in what is now the Czech and Slovakian Republic. Zábrodský was one
of the first European superstars.
He was born in Prague (Praha) on March 7,1923. He started playing hockey as a kid for the
legendary club LTC (Lawn Tennis Cercle) Praha (1945-49) Then between 1950 and 60 he played
for Spartak CKD Sokolovo and finished his career playing for Bohemians CKD Praha
(1963-65). He fled from Czechoslovakia in 1965 and moved to Sweden where became a
successful trainer for clubs like Leksand and Rögle.
His individual play single-handedly won his team many games. He led the national team to
the 1947 and 1949 World Championships. He also participated in the 1948,54,55 and 56
World Championships as well as two Olympic tournaments (1948 and 56). In the 1948 Olympic
games in St. Moritz Switzerland, he led the tournament in scoring and his team to a 6-0-1
record, good enough for the silver medal.
Zábrodský was the Czech national team. He represented the Czechs 93 times and scored an
incredible 158 goals, including 29 goals in 7 World Championship games in 1947 and 21 in 8
Olympic games in 1948 !
In Czech league play this crafty center scored 306 goals in 237 games spanning 16 seasons.
He led the league in scoring 5 times. 1947 (17 goals), 1949 (19), 1954 (30), 1957
(33) and in 1959 (23). He also won the league championship 6 times. 1946-49 (LTC Praha)
and 1953 and 54 (Spartak CKD Sokolovo).
Zábrodský will also go down to history as one of the players who were on the first ever
hockey team that visited Russia in 1948. His LTC Praha team played three games against the
Russians and helped them develop their hockey.
12 of Zábrodský's teammates were jailed for spionage and treason in 1950. Their
sentences ranged from 8 months to 15 years. Zábrodský somehow wasn't jailed and many
people to this day think that he was a "rat", who snitched on his teammates in
order to escape any punishment for himself.
Big Zábrodský wasn't just a hockey giant, he was also an excellent tennis player of good
international quality. He even represented Czechoslovakia in the Davis Cup. After his
coaching career was over he focused on Tennis. He ran one of the most successful Tennis
schools in Sweden for a long time. As we entered the new Millennium, his sons (Vladimir
Jr. and Jan) had taken over the Tennis business. Zábrodský lives in Stockholm today.
Vladimir Zábrodský was truly one of Europes great players of the 1940's and 50's.