In 1978, as a guest of the Czechoslovakian Hockey Federation, Mike Buckna was honoured as the “Father of Czechoslovakian Hockey” in recognition of his contributions to the sport of hockey in general and to the Czech game in particular.

Buckna joined the Trail Smoke Eaters in 1932 while still in the juniors, and played with the team to the first of their six BC championship wins (1931-33, 1940-41, 1949).

In 1935, he was hired to coach Czechoslovakia’s national hockey team. Buckna reorganized the country’s entire hockey system, pioneering hockey clinics, coaching junior and senior teams, and introducing minor hockey.

He served as playing coach of the Czech National Team, which won two European hockey titles in 1938 and 1939. In 1939, his National Team ironically lost to his hometown Trail Smoke Eaters 2-1 in the world championships.

Returning to Trail during WWII, Buckna played for the Smoke Eaters’ 1940 and 1941 BC championship teams.

In 1946, he returned to Czechoslovakia to coach the national team, leading them to the country’s first ever world hockey championship in 1947. This marked the first time a European team had won the world championship.

The Czech national team won a third European title in 1948. Buckna predicted that the NHL would be coming to Europe for players and at the time he was laughed at. Decades later, he would be proved correct.

Back in Trail, as player/coach for the Smoke Eaters, Buckna won the 1949 BC championship. In 1956, he turned down a coaching position with the Canadian national team to coach the newly formed Rossland Warriors.