Other International Stars
But many consider him being a better goaltender than Tretyak. In his homeland (Czech Republic) Holecek was called "Kouzelnik" (The Magician), for his acrobatic style of play. He was equally good and fast with his blocker as he was with his glove hand. He also had very quick feet and tried to emulate the style of his childhood idol, Canadian Seth Martin. Another strength was that Holecek always used to be cool under pressure. Many say that if Holecek had got the same exposure as Tretyak did when he faced the NHL'ers then he would be regarded as the best European goalie ever.
Holecek was born on March 18,1944 in Prague.He started playing as a little kid on a pond at Zizkov in Prague. Then in 1956 he played for Tatra Smichov as a forward. As a 13-year old he became a goalie just by co-incidence when he failed to make the Bohemians Prague team in 1957-58 as a forward. He found out that the rival club Slavia Prague was looking for a goaltender. So Holecek tried out as a goalie and made the team. He played there until 1963 before he was picked up by the Slovakian club Dukla Kosice (1963-67) / VSZ Kosice (1967-73).
In 1973 he returned to Prague where he played for Sparta
Prague between 1973-78. He played a total of 488 games in the league and won the
"Golden Stick" award as the player of the year in 1974. After his domestic
career was over he went on to play in Germany for EHC Münich 70 (1978-80) and then EHC
"I loved to play against them because our team didn't
have anything to lose in those games. Everybody expected us to lose and if we won we
became national heroes. I usually liked to skate out a bit to face the shooters but
against them I stood on the goal line. Trying to skate out of your crease to cut the
angles against the Russians would have been suicide" Holecek said.
"No, Tretyak wasn't anything special. We had at least
ten goalies back home who were better than him and the same goes for Sweden. The Russians
had such a good team that it wasn't very hard to be in goal for them."
"That's very difficult to answer, but the
Kharlamov-Petrov-Mikhailov line was awesome.
"Yeah, I used to train him in Pardubice. It wasn't very
far away from Prague and it was incredible to train such a talent," Holecek said.
Hasek had Holecek as his mentor and childhood idol and used to wear Holecek's famous # 2
Holecek was a "ghost" for many opponents and must be regarded as one of the three best goalies ever in European hockey history.