Former NHL forward Miroslav Frycer, who played 346 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs and led them in points in 1985-86, has passed away at age 61.
Few details were provided about Frycer's cause of death but he has battled health issues for years and has shared his history with alcoholism. He had reportedly been sober since 1999, but suffered through different kidney and liver ailments in the years since. He was the recipient of a liver transplant and a kidney transplant in recent years.
During his playing days, Frycer was a fiery competitor. he defected from then Czechoslovakia and immediately hit it off with embattled Leafs owner Harold Ballard. “Harold treated me wonderfully. He admired people with balls, who made the escape (when Czechoslovakia was still behind the Iron Curtain),” Frycer said in his 2018 book 'My Wild Hockey Life.'
“I was a wild and crazy kid, a cowboy. It was not the best team, I was under a lot of distress … and my lifestyle suffered,” Frycer recalled about his time with the Leafs from 1981 until 1988. He led the Leafs in scoring with 32 goals and 75 points in 73 games during the 1985-86 season. He also had short stints with the Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers and was set to be a part of the OIlers' 1990 Stanley Cup winning team, but instead chose to return to Europe to play out his career.
After playing a few seasons in the German and Italian leagues, Frycer returned to the Czech Republic where he coached and acted in executive roles with Orli Znojmo of the Czech second division. RIP Big Miro. Gone, but never forgotten.