Referee Pavel Lainka dies, struck by puck at youth game

Puck Daddy
Screen Shot 2016-09-13 at 11.34.09 AM
Screen Shot 2016-09-13 at 11.34.09 AM

It was a preliminary youth hockey league tournament contest between Warrior Brno and Sumperk Lainka in the Czech Republic on Aug. 25. Pavel Lainka, 24, was officiating the game, years after he played in the Brno youth league himself.

It was during that game that a puck flew through the air and struck Lainka on his temporal bone, despite his wearing a helmet. He dropped to the ice. He was later transported to a hospital, where he would remain for two weeks.

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On Saturday, he lost his life as a result of that injury.

The Czech Ice Hockey Federation said there will be a minute of silence at each game played in the nation this week in its top two leagues.

“He was exceptionally active and successful and also one of the first absolvents of the referee of collective sports major at the Masaryk University in Brno,” said Vladimir Sindler, chairman of the Czech Ice Hockey Association’s officiating committee. “Many remember Pavel not just from the ice rink and seminars, but also as a friend, who was always happy and smiling and was an amazing teammate.”

According to, Lainka was not only a promising referee but a student of the game. His bachelor’s thesis dealt with “identifying the level selected cognitive skills of ice hockey referee with regard to the length of practice.”

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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