Jaroslav Pavlu (center) returned to his second home in 2018 for a Champions League game between HC Bozen and Pilsen. On the right is Bolzano's ex-captain Anton Bernard. © Vanna Antonello

South Tyrol's ice hockey is in mourning: a Bolzano legend is dead

On Tuesday evening, the jubilation at HC Bozen after the 5:3 victory over Fehervar was huge. However, this joy is now marred by a death.

The Bolzano ice hockey legend Jaroslav Pavlu is dead. The HCB announced this on Wednesday morning. “It is with deep sadness that HC Bozen acknowledges the news of the death of Jaroslav Pavlu, who died on Tuesday at the proud age of 87,” the Foxes wrote in a statement.

Pavlu left his home in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1969 and found a new home in Bolzano. Between 1969 and 1980, “Jarda” won four championships with the Foxes and repeated this feat in the dugout when he led the HCB to the Scudetto in 1982 and 1983. He then worked as a trainer at EV Bruneck. After his career, Pavlu made it his mission to train young talents. “Several South Tyrolean players learned the most from Pavlu on their way to adult ice hockey – both athletically and personally,” writes HC Pustertal on social media.

A photo from 2008: Martin, Jaroslav and Jan Pavlu. © Max Pattis

Jaroslav Pavlu is the father of Martin Pavlu, one of the greatest players in Italy's ice hockey history and also a HC Bozen legend. His grandson Jan Pavlu is also an ice hockey star and currently plays in the third German league for the Heilbronner Falken.

In 2004, Jaroslav Pavlu returned to his Czech homeland after 35 years and spent his twilight years in his birthplace, Trebic. But he never lost sight of HC Bozen, so on November 20, 2018, he symbolically threw in the puck during a Champions Hockey League game between the Foxes and Pilsen. It was the last Bolzano match that Jaroslav Pavlu saw live.

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