Former hockey star and national coach accused of fraud

Vladimír Růžička, the former Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators forward, was accused of fraud. He is facing up to 5 years long sentence in prison.

Police suspect that Vladimír Růžička demanded money from parents in exchange for their children to be able to play hockey for a youth team. This was supposedly happening during his time as the head coach of HC Slavia Prague (2000-2014). In April 2015, parent Miroslav Paleščák released a video where he blamed Růžička that despite the fact that he had sent him the 500 000 Czech crowns, as payment they earlier had agreed on, his son was still not playing for the Slavia Prague youth team. The tape has been recorded in June 2014.

Růžička claimed that the payment was a sponsorship gift which was not written into the clubs accountancy and that he had returned the money to Paleščák. Now, nearly after a year, the police accuses Růžička of fraud.

According to the police and the prosecutor, the case is fully provable. However, Růžička protests that no damage has been done and refused the charges. He now faces an up to a five-year-long sentence in prison.

After the IIHF World Championships, that took place in Prague and Ostrava in May 2015 a reporter from Czech Radio started to investigate the whole cause in detail. He has found out that there were many similar cases. For the time being, Růžička’s current employer Tipsport Extraliga club Piráti Chomutov does not intend to take action against Růžička because the case has nothing to do with the club.

Vladimír Růžička was born in June 1963. He spent his best years of his playing career in Slavia Prague, Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators. He won the 1985 World Championships and led the team as captain to triumph in 1998 Nagano Olympic Games. As a national coach, he won the World Championships in 2005 and 2010 and also became Extraliga champion coaching Slavia Prague in 2003 and 2008.