Vladimír Dzurilla (born on August 2, 1942) is a legendary goalkeeper of the world in the discipline of Czechoslovak and Slovak ice hockey. He represented Czechoslovakia in 139 games. He is a three-time world champion (1972, 1976, 1977), a participant in three Winter Olympics (1964 – bronze medallist, 1968 – silver, 1972 – bronze), and in eight world championships, winning three gold, two silver and three bronze medals. He defended the net of the Czechoslovak national team at the memorable victory 8:0 over Canada at the 1965 World Championship in Tampere, as well as at an even more memorable victory 1:0 over the cradle of ice hockey at the first Canada Cup in 1976. In the game which is believed to be one of the greatest games in ice hockey history, he stood up to Orr, Hull and Esposito. His performance in a dramatic game at the Grenoble Winter Olympics, in which Czechoslovakia defeated the Soviet “Zbornaya” 5:4, is also memorable. “Vlado” was a respected “enemy” of the team led by coaches Tarasov and Tchernyshev, which remained undefeatable for years.
He became the first Slovak hockey player to enter the Hall of Fame of the International Ice Hockey Federation in 1998 and earned a victory in the inquiry “Slovak Hockey Player of the 20th Century”. He played 571 games over 19 league seasons in the jerseys of Slovan Bratislava between 1957 and 1973, and Kometa Brno (ZKL, later Zetor Brno) between 1973 and 1978. He finished his 25-year hockey career in Bavaria, in HC Riessersee in 1982. In 2002, he entered the Hall of Fame of the Slovak Ice Hockey and was awarded Pribinov kríž (Pribina Cross) of the 1st class in memoriam for the merits in developing Slovak sport in 2007. He was third in the inquiry “Slovak Sportsman of the 20th Century” after Olympic winners Ondrej Nepela and Anton Tkáč. All hockey fans from Montreal to Sapporo to those from tribune “C” of the old winter stadium in Bratislava, who experienced the unforgettable “Bear”, participated in a great hockey story. He played his last hockey game in the senior team of the world ice hockey against the senior team of Sweden in Stockholm in May 1995. Thirty years after he became the best goalkeeper at the World Championship in Tampere, he received the award for the best player in the game with the “Dzurilla smile”. On July 27, 1995, he changed to his last team – to the heavenly All-Stars Team.
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