|Born: September 23, 1951 in Kladno, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic)
On skill alone, few could keep up with Milan Novy. He was a star in the Czechoslovak league, played a year in the NHL, and shone brightest on the international stage, winning a medal eight of nine times he played at the Olympics or World Championships.
From his first international tournament in 1975 to his last (1982), Novy failed to win a medal only once, the 1980 Olympics. But at the Lake Placid games, Novy led all scorers with 15 points in just six games.
Novy still ranks as the best scorer in the Czech and Czechoslovak hockey history. In 214 national team games, he ranked up an impressive total of 122 goals. He ended his career with 594 goals in Czechoslovak league play, still the all-time leader today.
Novy was one of international hockey's greatest stars between 1975 and 1980. He led Czechoslovakia to two IIHF World Championship gold medals in 1976 and 1977, scoring 15 points (9+6) in the 1976 event and 16 points (7+9) a year later. He was named to the Worlds' All Star Team in 1976.
At the 1977 Championship, he had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over the Soviet Union, the decisive game that led the Czechoslovaks to their first back-to-back World Championship titles in 27 years.
Novy became a truly international star on both sides of the Atlantic at the 1976 Canada Cup. In a game at the Montreal Forum, on September 9, his goal was the only one of the night in an historic 1-0 win for Czechoslovakia over Canada. It was the first time a best possible Canadian national team lost at home to an opponent other than the Soviet Union.
He was named the teams best player and to the tournament All-Star Team in hockey's first ever open event when all top nations could enter their best players.
Novy used this great performance as a springboard to his best season in the Czechoslovak league, with Kladno, recording 59 goals in just 44 games and earning player of the year honours.
Novy grew up in the Kladno organisation, playing in the junior program until he was 17, in 1968, when he made the senior team. He played there for four years before joining Dukla Jihlava, leading the league in scoring his first season.
Novy played with Kladno until 1982. That summer he was drafted by the Washington Capitals and was allowed to join the team that autumn. He had a goal and two assists in his first NHL game and finished with an impressive 18 goals and 48 points on a very weak team. Novy returned to Europe after one season. After playing briefly in Switzerland and Austria, he returned to Kladno for three years, retiring in 1989 at age 37.
His return was symbolic. Just as he started his career at a time when other great players were in their prime (Vaclav Nedomansky, Vladimir Martinec), he ended his days in Kladno playing alongside 16-year-old Jaromir Jagr, a future great.
He led the Czechoslovak league in scoring three times thanks largely to his speed and skill, and excellent shot which he mastered by practicing off ice with a steel puck.
Novy is the 22nd person from the Czech Republic to be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.