BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – The IIHF and Slovakian Ice Hockey Association are deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of Juraj Okolicany. The former referee and referee supervisor was 65. Okolicany’s death, on the morning of September 10 in Bratislava, Slovakia, occurred after complications following surgery.
On May 15, Okolicany was honoured during the 2008 IIHF World Championship in Quebec City, Canada receiving the prestigious Paul Loicq Award as part of the IIHF Hall of Fame induction. The award is presented annually to a member of the hockey family for special contributions to the IIHF and international ice hockey.
“The entire international ice hockey family is devastated by Juraj’s death,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “It feels like it was just yesterday that we celebrated his accomplishments in Quebec City. He was a person that was simply there, at every World Championship, at every Olympics, working tirelessly for the good of the sport. He will be sadly missed. The IIHF’s condolences are extended to the Okolicany family, who so proudly accompanied their husband and father at the ceremony last May.”
Okolicany, who was born on March 28, 1943 in Zilina, Czechoslovakia, enjoyed a career in officiating dating back to 1962 and he was an active referee for a quarter of a century before he retired in 1986. Between 1973 and 1985, he was an IIHF licensed referee, working four IIHF World U20 Championships and two B-pool men’s World Championships.
His major accomplishments as an omnipresent personality on the international scene started in the early 90s when he became one of the IIHF’s top referee supervisors for major events. Okolicany worked 10 IIHF World Championships, two Olympic Winter Games and around 45 minor IIHF championships as a supervisor.
He combined those duties with several assignments as manager of the Slovak national team in the World Championship (1996, 1997) and Olympics (1994, 1998). He was also an Event Director for the organizing committee from 1993-2003 for 12 IIHF competitions held in Slovakia
Okolicany was a member of the IIHF Referee Committee since 1998 and was with the IIHF Junior Committee from 1993-1998.