The American Hockey League remembers former Albany River Rats forward Peter Zezel, who passed away on Tuesday afternoon at the age of 44 following complications from a long-time blood disorder.
Zezel played 15 years in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and the Vancouver Canucks. The Toronto native spent most of the 1997-98 season in the AHL with Albany, helping to mentor such Devils prospects as John Madden, Brendan Morrison, Sergei Brylin, Patrik Elias, Sheldon Souray, Jay Pandolfo, Colin White, and current Hershey Bears captain Bryan Helmer.
Zezel was selected to represent the River Rats at the 1998 AHL All-Star Classic and was named the game’s most valuable player.
Originally drafted 41st overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the 1983 Entry Draft, Zezel played 873 regular season games, scoring 219 goals and 389 assists. Zezel retired from the NHL following the 1998-99 season.
Zezel’s family released the following statement:
“Peter will forever be remembered as a great teammate and a wonderful individual, who touched the lives of many both on and off the ice. In his typical character of generosity, Peter has donated his organs through the Trillium Gift of Life Network. We would like to thank all of Peter’s friends and family for their support and we ask for privacy during this difficult time.”