BRATISLAVA – Former Czechoslovak national team player and coach Jaroslav Walter passed away on 20 June. He was 75.
Born in the village of Sobedraz in the South Bohemian Region, Walter started to play ice hockey in nearby Cimelice and played for Litvinov, Dukla Jihlava and Slovan Bratislava in the top Czechoslovak league. During his peak years the forward represented the national team in 28 international games and won bronze medals at the 1963 IIHF World Championship and the 1964 Olympic Winter Games.
After ending his playing career in 1972 after three years in Austria (Innsbruck, Graz) he was coaching Dukla Trencin, Slovan Bratislava, Nitra and also Deilinghofen and Dortmund in Germany. He also worked as the assistant of the late Ivan Hlinka for the Czechoslovak national team in the 1991 Canada Cup, the 1992 Olympic Winter Games and the 1992 IIHF World Championships on home ice in Prague and Bratislava and continued assisting him with the Czech national team at the 1993 IIHF World Championship.
Although born in what is today the Czech Republic, Walter spent most of his years after finishing his playing career in Slovakia where he became member of the Slovak Hall of Fame. He regularly visited the games of Slovan Bratislava as well as the Slovak U20 national team at the Vladimir Dzurilla rink.
In an interview on the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation’s website in January when he received a jersey with the number 75 for his birthday in January, he said: “As a kid I decided I would play hockey at the highest level. As a 12-year-old I played with guys who were five years older than me. I dreamed of one day putting on the national team sweater. It became true. Hockey has given me so much. I met many friends and travelled around the world.”
Walter died in a hospital in Bratislava last week. His funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in the Slovak capital.