Former NHLer Zezel Passes Away at 44 thumbnail

Former NHLer Zezel Passes Away at 44

May 27, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments

Yesterday was a sad day for the hockey community. Former NHLer Peter Zezel passed away at the age of 44. Our condolences to his family and friends.

He had suffered a decade long battle with a blood disorder called haemolytic anaemia- a rare disorder that destroys red blood cells faster than the body can replace them.

Originally selected by the Flyers in the second round of the 1983 NHL Draft, the Toronto native went onto a solid 15-year career playing for half a dozen different clubs including the Blues, Capitals, Maple Leafs, Stars, Devils and Canucks.

The center certainly had his moments posting a career best 33 goals and 72 points in 1986-87 helping lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final before falling to the Oilers in seven games. He followed up a point-per-game regular season (72 in 71 GP) by performing well that Spring netting three goals and 10 assists for 13 points in 25 playoff games.

It was a couple of years later that he was dealt to St. Louis for Mike Bullard. Zezel continued to excel totaling 125 points (42 goals, 83 assists) in 125 games for the Blues including matching his career high in points with 72 in 73 contests during the 1989-90 season. He’d spend only 20 games with the Caps before winding up back home with the Leafs fulfilling a childhood dream. In four seasons, he tallied 128 points (50-78-128) in a supporting role helping Toronto make consecutive Western Conference Finals in 1993 and 1994.

He also had a brief stint with Dallas. Following a two-year return to Gateway City, Zezel spent some time in New Jersey amassing six assists in 23 games over two seasons along with some time in Albany before getting moved to Vancouver for a fifth round pick (Anton But).There in British Columbia became his final NHL stop. He performed admirably netting 17 points in 25 games to conclude the 1997-98 season. The following campaign was his last getting into 41 games totaling six goals and eight assists.

For his career, Zezel played 873 games finishing with 219 goals and 389 assists for 608 points along with 435 penalty minutes. In 131 playoff games, he totaled 25 goals and 39 assists for 64 points and 83 PIM.

He also played three seasons in a senior league netting 39 points in 30 games for the Cambridge Hornets from 2002-03 thru 2004-05.

“The hockey community has suffered a great loss today,” said former teammate Glenn Healy in a statement. “Peter was a friend and a great family man who was well liked by everyone he crossed paths with in our game. Our thoughts are with Peter’s family and many friends during this difficult time.”

“Peter was the ultimate caring friend and teammate,” said former Maple Leaf Mark Osborne in a statement. “He was so dedicated to his family and friends and he would always freely give of his time and energies to help someone else. He was truly a passionate and loyal friend both on and off the ice. Our hockey family is devastated.”

Per Zezel’s grieving family, donations can be made in Peter’s name to the James Birrell Fund at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The checks can be made payable to the “James Birrell Fund” and can be mailed to:

The James Fund
625 Whitaker Street #4
Peterborough, ON
K9H 7L5

RIP Peter Zezel (1965-2009)

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