Wingers Vladimir Martinec and Bohuslav Stastny formed one of the greatest duos in Czechoslovakian hockey history. Often centering the tandem was Jiri Novak, a tiny pivot at just 5'7" and 165lbs.
A native of Jaromer, Czech Republic, Novak was the least heralded of the trio. They practiced their intricate passing plays and love of beautiful goals with HC Pardubice and with the national team.
In the domestic leagues Novak scored 214 goals, although games played stats are incomplete.
Because he was a little bit younger than his two linemates, Novak missed out on the 1972 world championships and Olympic games. He can count the 1976 Olympic silver medal and world championship gold medal and 1976 Canada Cup on his resume. He also participated in the 1980 Olympics 4 other world championships.
Novak barely survived the 1976 Canada Cup, his first real encounter with NHL professionals. He was blindsided by Steve Shutt with a thunderous hit, leaving Novak crumpled on the ice and gone for the tournament. Novak, who did not have the puck, suffered a concussion and damaged seven vertebrae in his neck.
In the early 1980s many Czechoslovakian veterans got their chance to play in the West. While Martinec and Stastny headed to Germany, Novak took the opportunity to travel Europe. He ended up playing with Switzlerand, France and Italy.
Novak now owns a hotel in Pardubice.