|Birth Day:||January 26, 1950|
|Death Date:||Aug 16, 2004 (age 54)|
As per our current Database, Ivan Hlinka died on Aug 16, 2004 (age 54).
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He began playing hockey when he was 6 years old.
Hlinka helped the Czechoslovak team to win world titles in 1972, 1976, and 1977. As a member of the Czechoslovak team, he won an Olympic bronze medal in 1972 and a silver medal in 1976.
Hlinka played in the inaugural Canada Cup tournament in 1976, the international tournament in which the best available players competed for their countries (most notably, players from the National Hockey League). Canada defeated Czechoslovakia in the best-of-three final two games to nothing, with scores of 6–0 and 5–4. The following year, he was named the national team's captain, a position he held from 1977 to 1980.
At age 20, he became a captain Litvínov's men's team and played in the Czechoslovak national team for the first time. He played 256 games as a member of the Czechoslovak national team and scored 132 goals in international games. He also played in 544 games in Czechoslovak league and scored 347 times. Hlinka was named the Golden Hockey Stick winner as the country's top player in 1978.
In 1981, Hlinka and fellow Czech Jiří Bubla joined the NHL's Vancouver Canucks. This started the Czech migration to the NHL. They were the first Czechoslovak players to compete in the NHL with the permission of their country's authorities. (Jaroslav Jiřík played legally in the NHL in the 1969–70 season, but only in three games.) Playing in his first NHL season, Hlinka set a Canucks record for the most points by a rookie with 60 (later matched by Pavel Bure in 1991–92). During the subsequent 1982 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Canucks advanced to the Finals against the New York Islanders. In a losing effort (Vancouver lost the series in four straight games), Hlinka and Bubla became the first Czechs to ever play in the Stanley Cup Finals. The following season, Hlinka improved to 63 points over 65 games. In his two years in the NHL, Hlinka totalled 42 goals and assisted on 81 others in 137 games.
Hlinka returned to Europe to finish his playing career due to problems with his back in 1983. He played in Swiss team EV Zug until 1985, when he returned to Litvínov where he started his coaching career.
In the 1990s, Hlinka was head coach of Czechoslovak and later Czech national teams. His teams won bronze medals at the Albertville Olympics and the World Championships in 1992 and 1993. He left the national team after an unsuccessful World Championship in 1994.
Hlinka returned in 1997 and his team won the bronze medal at the World Championship again. Hlinka became a national hero when his team won the gold medal at the Nagano Olympics; the first time that the NHL agreed to release its players for the Games. The triumph was celebrated by the whole nation. The dominance of the Czech hockey team in the world was confirmed one year later when Hlinka's team won the World Championship again.
Hlinka was supposed to be once again head coach of the Czech national team in the 2004–05 season. However, he died on August 16, 2004, at age 54 when his car collided head-on with a Daewoo Avia driving the wrong way on the E48 highway only 200 yards from the town of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. He had gone to Karlovy Vary to ensure that Jaromír Jágr would participate in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. The truck suddenly appeared in Hlinka's lane. The truck driver claimed that he had to avoid a collision with an animal. More likely (the court was inclined to believe this), he turned from the main road and made a left at an intersection where it was prohibited. Hlinka was not using a safety belt, but according to experts, it would not have prevented his death.
Currently, Ivan Hlinka is 73 years, 1 months and 25 days old. Ivan Hlinka will celebrate 74th birthday on a Friday 26th of January 2024.
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