Jiri Holik starred the old Czechoslovakia on a line with brother Jaroslav, father of NHL star Bobby.
Though the brothers were a formidable force on the world stage, almost always with Jan Klapac on right wing, the two could not have been more different.
On the ice Jaroslav was a lot like his son Bobby - a big center with laboured skating, he would do whatever it would take to win. He was a brooding and hot blooded, hell bent on winning. He selflessly ate, drank and slept hockey for the betterment of the team.
On the other hand Jiri was an artistic scorer and an elegant skater, the more eye-catching of the two Holiks. Off the ice he was said to be care-free lover of nature and the arts, a day dreamer and a philospher.
Jiri grew up playing hockey idolizing older brother Jaroslav and local legend Vaclav Chytracek. He grew up to play for his hometown team Dukla Jihlava. In 15 seasons he won seven national titles, particpated in 12 world championships (winning gold in 1972, 1976 and 1977), four Winter Olympics and the 1976 Canada Cup.
Holik and national team teammate Jan Suchy were once contacted by the Detroit Red Wings in the early 1970s, with the possibility of defecting. Another Czech named Vaclav Nedomansky already had jumped shipped, but ultimately they could not leave their families behind.
Late in his career Holik was able to leave for the west to play hockey. In 1978 he moved to Rosenheim, Germany, and later Stadlau, Austria. He later coached in Vienna before leaving the game for business pursuits. He would return to hockey from time to time, managing his old Dukla Jihlava team and coaching in Germany.