Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Vladimir Ruzicka
On January 4, 2000, two sensational news items were circulating in the Czech hockey world. First, the Czechs had won the World Junior Championship for the first time ever, and second, Vladimir Ruzicka, who two years earlier was on the first Czech team to win an Olympic gold medal, announced that he was ending his hockey career.

Ruzicka started playing hockey at five years of age. At 16 he made his debut with Litvinov in high-level competition. In his first 10 minutes on the ice, he scored a goal against goaltender Jiri Kralik. At 19 he made his first appearance on the national team. With the exception of two years spent with Trencin, he stayed in Litvinov until the end of 1989. Then he spent five years in the NHL playing for Edmonton, Boston and Ottawa. In his best season, 1991-92, he scored 39 goals for a total of 75 points.

He was not a particularly fast skater, and coaches were at first upset that he was not interested in defense. But they were happy with his habit of scoring a goal a game. He had endless ways to complete a play and had an excellent sense for passing. Ruzicka enjoyed outsmarting his opponents -- luring the goaltender toward him, for example, and then getting the puck to a teammate who was perfectly positioned to score.

Five times he became the top scorer in Czech competition. Four times he was chosen the most productive player, the last time being in 1996. In 1986 and 1988 he won the Golden Hockey Stick Trophy awarded to the most valuable player in the country. He has gold from the 1985 World Championship and from the 1998 Olympics. He was on the team when the Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup in 1990, but because he had not played the necessary number of matches, he did not receive a golden ring. Similarly, he failed to win the Czech national title. It is ironic that he came closest in 1989 when he was with Trencin, where he played his shortest season of all. However, in the finals his team lost to Pardubice, who had Dominik Hasek in the net.

After being part of the Czech team's great triumph at Nagano, Ruzicka quietly returned to Czech league play, retiring in 2000 to turn to coaching.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1969-1978 CHZ Litvinov Jr. Czech-Jr.
1978-79 CHZ Litvinov Jr. Czech-Jr.
1978-79 Czechoslovakia EJC-A 3 1 2 3 2
1979-80 CHZ Litvinov Czech 9 1 1 2 0
1980-81 CHZ Litvinov Czech 41 12 13 25 10
1980-81 Czechoslovakia WJC-A 5 5 0 5 2
1980-81 Czechoslovakia EJC-A 5 8 8 16 18
1981-82 CHZ Litvinov Czech 44 27 22 49 50
1981-82 Czechoslovakia WJC-A 7 8 1 9 6
1982-83 CHZ Litvinov Czech 43 22 24 46 40
1982-83 Czechoslovakia WJC-A 7 12 8 20 6
1982-83 Czechoslovakia WEC-A 10 3 1 4 4
1983-84 CHZ Litvinov Czech 44 31 23 54 50
1983-84 Czechoslovakia Olympics 7 4 6 10 0
1984-85 Czechoslovakia Can-Cup 5 0 0 0 2
1984-85 CHZ Litvinov Czech 41 38 22 60 29
1984-85 Czechoslovakia WEC-A 10 8 3 11 0
1985-86 CHZ Litvinov Czech 43 41 32 73
1985-86 Czechoslovakia WEC-A 10 4 11 15 6
1986-87 CHZ Litvinov Czech 39 29 21 50 46
1986-87 Czechoslovakia WEC-A 10 3 3 6 10
1987-88 Czechoslovakia Can-Cup 6 2 0 2 0
1987-88 Dukla Trencin Czech 44 38 27 65 70
1987-88 Czechoslovakia Olympics 8 4 3 7 12
1988-89 Dukla Trencin Czech 45 46 38 84 42
1988-89 Czechoslovakia WEC-A 10 7 7 14 2
1989-90 CHZ Litvinov Czech 32 21 23 44
1989-90 Edmonton Oilers NHL 25 11 6 17 10 -21
1990-91 Boston Bruins NHL 29 8 8 16 19 +1 17 2 11 13 0
1991-92 Boston Bruins NHL 77 39 36 75 48 -10 13 2 3 5 2
1992-93 Boston Bruins NHL 60 19 22 41 38 -6
1993-94 Ottawa Senators NHL 42 5 13 18 14 -21
1994-95 HC Slavia Praha CzRep 41 27 24 51 3 2 0 2
1995-96 HC Slavia Praha CzRep 37 21 44 65 5 2 1 3
1996-97 HC Slavia Praha CzRep 44 22 32 54 40
1997-98 HC Slavia Praha CzRep 49 20 40 60 60 5 0 6 6 6
1997-98 Czech Republic Olympics 6 3 0 3 0
1998-99 HC Slavia Praha CzRep 50 25 31 56 67
1999-00 HC Slavia Praha CzRep 21 5 8 13 16
NHL Totals 233 82 85 167 129 30 4 14 18 2


EJC-A All-Star Team (1981)
WJC-A All-Star Team (1982, 1983)
WEC-A All-Star Team (1985)
Czechoslovakian Player of the Year (1986, 1988)
Czechoslovakian First All-Star Team (1988, 1989)
Traded to Edmonton by Toronto for Edmonton's 4th round pick (Greg Walters) in 1990 NHL Draft, December 21, 1989. Traded to Boston by Edmonton for Greg Hawgood, October 22, 1990. Signed as a free agent by Ottawa, August 12, 1993.
Surname(s) beginning with