Sunday, September 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Tributes to Flyers' Zezel pour in

The reactions continued to pour in on the untimely passing of former Flyer Peter Zezel. Zezel died Tuesday from a rare blood disorder at the age of 44 in Toronto.

Tributes to Flyers' Zezel pour in

The reactions continued to pour in on the untimely passing of former Flyer Peter Zezel. Zezel died Tuesday from a rare blood disorder at the age of 44 in Toronto.

RICK TOCCHET: “It is a sad day. Obviously, as a former teammate, it is a sad loss. I know he touched a lot of lives. Unfortunately, I had lost touch with Peter the last few years. We kind of went our separate ways in the hockey world. In talking recently with some of his friends regarding the stuff he was doing with the youth hockey he had been involved with back in Toronto, I am sure he will be leaving behind a legacy. He was just a great guy.

“In the time that we were teammates in Philadelphia, he was probably one of the most popular guys, not just with the Flyers, but among all sports figures in Philadelphia. He was probably one of the top three athletes in Philadelphia at that time. Everybody recognized him on and off the ice. As far as his play was concerned, he was one of the best draw guys in the league and one of the best passers. I know his rookie year he had a bunch of assists. He had really good chemistry with Timmy Kerr on the power play. He was just a guy you could count on. He was a guy you couldn’t knock off the puck. He was a big part of our team.

“Peter was a matinee idol. He was one of those guys who were infectious. When you went out with him, the girls just really liked him. He had a fan base of girls that in all the years I’ve played in the NHL, I have never seen a guy that had so many girls flock to him. He was very fan friendly. I never saw him turn down signing an autograph. The public relations department loved him because he never turned down hospital or school visits. Mr. Snider will even probably tell you that Peter was one of the most accessible Flyers who ever played the game.”

BOB CLARKE: “It obviously is way too early for a man to die at 44 years old. The tragedy surrounding it is just horrific for any of us who knew Peter. Peter was a pretty good hockey player. When he turned pro in Philadelphia, which was my first year (as management), he was an instant favorite with the fans, particularly the young girls. He could play hockey. He was a tank on skates. He could hit and hit very hard. He was terrific on face-offs. He was very skilled with his feet, with the puck and actually very skilled with his stick setting up plays. He was a really good young player who quite possibly had a shot a being a lot better.”

KJELL SAMUELSSON: “I am very sad and very surprised. I knew he was a little bit sick but I didn’t know it was this serious. He was a great guy. I played with him for two years in the Flyers organization. As a player he was very strong on face-offs and a good offensive player. I know when he was here there were guys like Derrick Smith, Rick Tocchet and him. There were a lot of girls, a lot of young girls, wearing Pete Zezel, Rick Tocchet and Derrick Smith jerseys. I do remember that. He was a good teammate. He was kind of a low-key, quiet type. You had to get to know him before he opened up to you.”

CRAIG BERUBE: “Obviously, it is very upsetting. He was a great guy. He was a great teammate. He always had a smile on his face. He came to the rink always happy. He was fun to be around and was a good hockey player for a long time. He played hard.”
 

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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