GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Several news outlets out of Czechia have reported that former Detroit Red Wing Petr Klima has died. He was 58 years old.
It is not clear how he died. A Czech news source says he was found dead inside his home in the town of Chomutov.
Klima was part of the Red Wings’ 1983 draft class that also included future Hall of Famer and current Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman, Bob Probert and Joey Kocur. Two years after he was drafted, 20-year-old Klima became the first Czech player to defect from the Soviet Union to play in the United States.
He made his NHL debut months later and ended up playing 13 seasons in the league. A steady goal scorer, Klima netted 130 goals in parts of six seasons in Detroit.
In November 1989, Klima was traded to the Edmonton Oilers. He helped lead the team to the Stanley Cup, defeating the Boston Bruins in five games for the Oilers’ only championship in the post-Wayne Gretzky era.
After being benched for most of Game 1, he was brought back to help the team try and pull out a win. Klima scored with less than five minutes to play in triple overtime, ending the longest game in Stanley Cup Finals history.
In 1993, the Oilers traded Klima to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He eventually spent time with the Los Angeles Kings and the Pittsburgh Penguins before resigning with the Oilers and ending his career with the Red Wings. He retired midway through the 1998-99 season at 34 years old. Klima ended his career with 313 goals and 260 assists.
The Red Wings released a statement in the wake of Klima’s death.
“The Detroit Red Wings are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Petr Klima. … The Red Wings organization offers its heartfelt condolences to the Klima family during this difficult time,” the statement read.