In the end,
tickets were distributed in the usual way—through sports clubs and workers'
organizations. They were allotted as rewards for extra effort in the glass
factory or the Skoda Works. Soldiers got them for overtime duty as members of
The top price was
$5—a stiff fee in an economy where the average wage is around 1,000 korun per
month (roughly $30 per week at the official rate).
ridiculous profits for tickets to meaningless matches such as Switzerland vs.
Poland, neither of which survived the qualifying round. Regardless of score the
fans remained cheering to the end. Canada ran up a 23-0 count on Switzerland,
but not a customer left his seat.
Under the Ahearne
system, teams which were eliminated in the qualifying round did not lose their
usefulness at the gate. They were farmed out to cities such as Kladno, Mlad�
Boleslav and Kolin to battle—mostly before sellout houses—for positions all the
way down to 12th place. In addition, Master Promoter Ahearne operated a
sideshow tournament for hopeless teams such as Rumania, Hungary, Austria and
the Czech juniors at Pilsen while the main event was in progress at Prague.
Second only to
hockey tickets in demand were souvenirs and autographs. Lapel pins from the
U.S. and Canada became collectors' items. Queues formed in the Vaclavske
Namesti, the Broadway of Prague, when hawkers set up their stands to sell
photos of competing clubs.
American prints were sold out first. The curbside merchants were stuck with
stacks of Soviet pictures after the Russians whacked the Czechoslovakians 4-3
in the roughest game of the final round.
whistled and jeered as the two Communist countries tore into each other, hammer
and sickle, before the frenzied crowd. This was one of the most embarrassing
incidents of the whole tournament for loyal brothers of the lodge, particularly
since the Canadians and Americans had received unflattering publicity for their
rugged play in a pre-tournament tour of the Continent.
crushed Czechoslovakia 7-2 in the qualifying round, the official Communist
paper Pravda complained that the Canadians had sent out Al Dewsbury, towering
former Chicago Black Hawks defenseman, to intimidate the Czech team. And he was
successful, Pravda confessed, because Canada swept the rink in the second
period, rapping in six goals. So when Russia played her satellite,
Czechoslovakia, Canadians and Americans had ringside seats to see the game
played in a spirit of brotherly love. Over their heads was a propaganda slogan
lettered on the rafters: "Sport for peace and friendship among
Less than two
minutes after the face-off one Czech player buried the butt end of his stick
into Nikolai Sologubov's ribs. The 35-year-old captain of the Russian team was
doubled over with pain. He shouted protests at the Czech bench as he skated
slowly to his own players' coop.
Sidorenkov, who replaced Sologubov, avenged the attack on his mate. He caught
Jaroslav Jirik with his hip and sent him soaring like sputnik, while aroused
Czech fans practically rattled the walls with their whistles and boos.