Canucks and Czechia
Vancouver Canucks defenceman Filip Hronek was one of many current and past NHL players on hand in Litvinov, Czechia on Saturday evening to play in a charity hockey game to honour the late Petr Klima, the former NHL forward who died at age 58 on May 4th.
The match featured Klima’s twin sons Kevin and Kelly who played on a line together.
Past Czech NHL’ers who suited up included Ziggy Palffy, Robert Reichel, Ondrej Pavelec, Ondrej Kase, David Vyborny, Martin Skoula, Jiri Tlusty, Patrik Elias and Michal Neuvirth.
Aside from Hronek, current NHL’ers included David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins, Martin Necas of the Carolina Hurricanes, David Kampf of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Jan Rutta and Filip Zadina of the San Jose Sharks.
Pastrnak started the game on a line with the Klima boys.
Ex-NHL’ers serving as coaches included former Canucks defenceman and 1990 2nd-round pick Jiri Slegr, former Canucks winger Martin Rucinsky, who played 13 games for the club in 2003-’04, and Jakub Voracek, the former member of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers.
The event just happened to take place one day after the 38th anniversary of Klima defecting from what was then Czechoslovakia to play hockey in North America for the Detroit Red Wings. He sneaked away from a Czech national team meal in West Germany to meet members of that NHL organization.
After four years with the Red Wings and occasional disciplinary issues, Klima was traded to the Edmonton Oilers where he found his greatest fame. After not playing in the 3rd period or in the first two overtimes, Klima scored at 15:13 of triple-overtime of Game-1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins at Boston Garden. It remains the longest Final game in history. The Oilers went on to win their last of five Stanley Cups in five games.
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