Former Toronto Maple Leafs right winger Miroslav Frycer of Ostrava, Czech Republic passed away on Tuesday at the age of 61 according to the Associated Press. Frycer, who died of an unspecified illness, played 415 National Hockey League regular season games from 1981 to 1989 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Quebec Nordiques, Detroit Red Wings, and Edmonton Oilers. Even though we do not know the official cause of death at this time, according to Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun, Frycer was recently hospitalized in the Czech Republic for a blood disorder, and had a history of health problems that included alcohol abuse, liver and kidney transplants.
Frycer will be best remembered by his time with the Maple Leafs, the team he played 329 games with, or 79.3% of his total NHL regular season games. In 1985-86, Frycer had career highs in goals (32), assists (43), points (75), power-play points (24), and shots on goal (201).
Even though Frycer had a strong offensive season for the Maple Leafs in 1985-86, he struggled defensively. He was a -27 that season, and was a -70 over seven seasons with the Maple Leafs from 1982 to 1988. In his eight seasons in the National Hockey League, Frycer was a -83.
From 1981 to 1989, Frycer had 147 goals and 188 assists for 330 points. He also had 486 penalty minutes, 79 power-play points, 17 game-winning goals, and 913 shots on goal.
Undrafted, Frycer signed as a free agent with the Nordiques on April 2, 1980. He was part of a series of Czechoslovakian players who defected to North America in the early 1980s. Frycer was joined by Peter and Anton Stastny, as well as Peter Ihnacak. The Stastny brothers played primarily with the Nordiques, while Ihnacak was Frycer’s linemate with the Maple Leafs.
Interestingly, the player Frycer and Ihnacak played with on the Maple Leafs has also since passed away. Walt Poddubny of Thunder Bay, Ontario died in 2009 of a heart attack at age 49.