A true NHL pioneer dies suddenly at just 58 years old

A true NHL pioneer dies suddenly at just 58 years old

Oh, this is so awful. Thoughts and prayers go out to the family.



According to a report from the Czech Hockey Federation, former NHLer and Czech hockey legend Petr Klima has died at just 58 years old.

Translated: Tragic news hit the hockey community: former striker Petr Klíma died suddenly at the age of 58.

He played almost 800 games in the NHL, helped the national team win silver and bronze from the MSJ, and also played at the Canada Cup in 1984.

Honor to his memory.

No details yet on the nature of his death. But suffice it to say that at just 58 years old he was taken far, far, far too early.

Most hockey fans will remember Klima from his time with the Detroit Red Wings and the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s. In the summer of 1985, Klima became the first Czech player in NHL history to defect to an American based team, joining the Red Wings after a pretty prolonged, covert operation. Klima managed to ditch his Czech teammates at training camp in Germany and escaped back to the United States with Red Wings officials. The Red Wings had failed to aid Klima in a defection a year prior at the 1984 Olympics. So, suffice it to say that when Klima finally made it to Detroit there was major, major, MAJOR hype surrounding him.

In Detroit Klima would put up some 30+ goal and 50+ point campaigns, but his erratic behavior and his struggles with alcoholism affected his play. He was suspended by the team during training camp in 1988 when things finally came to a head. After a brief stint in the AHL for conditioning, Klima would get his career back on track but was eventually traded by the Red Wings to the Edmonton Oilers, where he'd go on to score one of the most memorable goals in Oilers history.

Klima, who had been riding the bench for the majority of the game, scored the triple OT winner in Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final, a series in which the Oilers would of course claim yet another Stanley Cup championship.

Who can forget this goal?

The guy comes out of nowhere to score a HUGE goal in the Stanley Cup Final. You've got to love it.

RIP, Petr. Gone, but never forgotten.

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