Defenceman Jiri Bubla spent five years with the Vancouver Canucks in the 1980s after a stellar decade on the Czechoslovakian national squad. He used his mobility and hockey sense effectively at both ends of the ice and was a solid point man on the power play.
Born in Usti nad Labem, Czechoslovakia, Bubla became one of the best-known national team players in 1970s. His alert play in his own end and crisp passes were crucial to his country's exemplary transition game. Bubla represented his country at nine World Championships including the monumental gold medal win over the Soviet Union in 1972. He was also a part of the World Championship squads in 1976 and 1977 and also won five silver medals and one bronze. Individually, Bubla was named the top defenceman at the 1979 World Championships and was placed on the all-star team at the 1978 and 1979 tournaments.
In 1976, Bubla helped Czechoslovakia win the silver medal at the Innsbruck Olympics and finish runner-up to the host country at the inaugural Canada Cup. He also experienced the disappointment of finishing fifth at the Lake Placid games in 1980. After playing the 1980-81 season with Sparta Praha, the veteran defender was claimed in a special Czechoslovakian Entry Draft by the Colorado Rockies. A few weeks later, he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks and prepared for his first NHL training camp with fellow Czechoslovak Ivan Hlinka.
Bubla added skill to the Canucks transition game but was never totally accustomed to the rougher style of play in North America. He was solid on the power play but was not used against the opposition's bigger forwards. He played over 250 games in the NHL before retiring in 1986.