Former NHL forward Petr Klima, best known for being part of the 1990 Stanley Cup-winning Edmonton Oilers, died on Thursday. He was 58 years old.
“The NHL mourns the passing of Czech legend Petr Klima," the league said in a statement. “Our sympathies are with his family, friends and many fans.”
The NHL mourns the passing of Czech legend Petr Klima, who scored 313 goals across 13 NHL seasons. Klima helped the Oilers win the 1990 Stanley Cup while scoring a memorable triple-overtime winner in Game 1 of the Final. Our sympathies are with his family, friends and many fans. pic.twitter.com/qKZCAhNBTx
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 4, 2023
The cause of death was not made public.
Through 786 regular-season games, Klima scored 313 goals and 573 points for five different organizations.
Klima scored 28 goals and 52 points through 95 playoff games for the Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings, but none of the goals mattered more than when he scored in triple overtime to win Game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.
Pete Klima scored one of the most memorable goals in #Oilers history during the 3rd OT in game 1 of the 1990 #StanleyCup final in Boston.
Edmonton would go on to win the Cup 4 games to 1.
Shocked he passed away so young at 58. #RIPPetrKlima
— Paul Almeida (@AzorcanGlobal) May 4, 2023
The goal ended the longest game in the history of the Final. After being benched for long stretches throughout the five periods of play and the Oilers coming back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it, Klima was given an opportunity in the sixth frame. Just over 15 minutes into it, he beat Bruins netminder Andy Moog to hand Edmonton the first game of the series.
The Oilers would go on to claim the Cup in five games, giving Edmonton its fifth title in seven years.
Klima’s death comes just 11 days before the 33rd anniversary of the goal.
The winger was drafted in the fifth round of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the Red Wings, a draft class that included other Red Wings legends like Steve Yzerman, the grizzled duo of Bob Probert and Joey Kocur, along with current Islanders coach Lane Lambert.
In 1985, Klima became the first player born in Czechoslovakia to defect to an NHL team after Peter, Anton, and Martin Stastny joined the Quebec Nordiques in 1980 and 1981. His path to North American professional hockey paved the way for other Czech legends like Jaromir Jagr, Dominik Hasek and Bobby Holik, who would all come over to the NHL for the 1990-91 season, just months after Klima scored the triple-overtime goal.