|Born|| March 14, 1944 |
Hodonín, Bohemia and Moravia
|Height||6 ft 1 in (185 cm)|
|Weight||210 lb (95 kg)|
|Played for|| HC Slovan Bratislava|
Detroit Red Wings
St. Louis Blues
New York Rangers
Václav Nedomanský (born March 14, 1944 in Hodonín, Bohemia and Moravia, now Czechoslovakia), is a former Czechoslovak hockey player. Nedomanský is regarded as one of the best Czechoslovak ice hockey players of all time, being an indispensable part of the Czechoslovak national team in the 1960s and 1970s, with gold medals at the 1976 Olympics, 1972 and 1976 World Championships and the 1981 Canada Cup as highlights. Later, he was the second Czechoslovak player to play at a high level in the National Hockey League (NHL), following Stanislav Gvoth.
Nedomanský was born on March 14, 1944 in Hodonín, Bohemia and Moravia, to Slovak parents. His talent was obvious very early on and excelled in both ice hockey and football. Had he not decided to go for hockey, he would have made a good soccer player, and even played one match for Slovan in the elite football league. However, in the end hockey won out, and he soon came to the Slovak club HC Slovan Bratislava where he played from 1962 until he went to North America to play for the NHL in 1977. During the 14 seasons in the Czechoslovak league he scored a stunning 409 goals in 501 games. He led the league in scoring six times (1967, 71, 72, 74, 75 and 77). He led the historic ranking of the Czechoslovak Club of League Scorers, which rates players by total goals scored on the professional level. Only Milan Nový and Vladimir Ruzicka (in the 1998-99 season) have been able to beat him.
He wasn't just a dominant force in the Czechoslovakian league but he was also the most when he played for the Czechoslovakian national team. He scored 163 goals in 220 games and played in 13 World Championship tournaments between 1965-76, three Olympic tournaments in 1968, 1972 and 1976, as well as two Canada Cups in 1976 and 1981.
In 1972 he was the offensive catalyst who led Czechoslovakia to a Gold Medal, breaking the Soviet dominance. He scored 15 points (9+6) in the 10 games. He led all goal scorers during the 1974 world championship tournament and was selected as the best forward of the tournament. He had also been a first All-Star four times (1969, 70 and 74 and 1976) on the right wing. In 1976, he lead the Czechoslovak team to victory at the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck, winning their first Olympic gold medal. Later that year, he won gold at the World Championship as well, followed by finishing as runner-up against Canada at the first Canada Cup tournament.
His strong play in these three tournaments led him to be sign as a free agent by Detroit Red Wings on October 18, 1976. His first season in Detroit wasn't all that great and he scored only 28 pts (11+17) in 64 games, not exactly the numbers one would expect from a World class player. But as soon as he settled down, he came back and showed flashes of his brilliance. Although clearly past his prime he scored 41, 38 and 35 goals the following three seasons (78-79 and 79-80). His 78, 73 and 74 points was a really good result considering the fact that he was 35-36 years old playing for one of the worst teams in the league. Although not as fast as he used to be he still had that deadly wristshot as well as great touch around the net. As his speed deteriorated he became more and more of a power forward who thrived in the slot. He was hard to move away from the slot in the same fashion as Phil Esposito was and became something of a powerplay specialist.
In his last stint with the national team, he was the captain for the team which won the Canada Cup in 1981, having scored 3 goals and 5 assists in the proces.
He played a couple of more seasons in Detroit before he was signed by New York Rangers as a free agent on September 30, 1982. He scored a goal in his first game with the Rangers before getting claimed off waivers by St. Louis on October 6, 1982. His stint with St. Louis only lasted for 22 games as he was traded back on on January 4, 1983 along with Glen Hanlon in return for the young prospect Andre Dore to St. Louis. Upon his return to the Rangers he scored 11 goals in 34 games, 8 of them coming on the powerplay. He finished that 1982-83 season with 31 points (14+17) in 57 games before calling it quits almost 40 years old.
A marvellous career that had spanned for over three decades came to an end which saw "Big Ned" score close to 800 goals. Had he been able to play in North America during his prime then he could very well have challenged Esposito's then record 76 goals in a season.
In 1987-89 he coached the German club Schwenningen, and for one season the Innsbruck hockey club in Austria. He also wrote regular columns for the Czechoslovak hockey magazines.
|Official tournament totals||133||112||58||170||67|