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June 13, 2008

Miroslav Dvorak Dead At 56

Special thanks to Alanah over at KuklasKorner.com for alerting me to the passing of Czech hockey legend Miroslav Dvorak. Here's my biography on the interesting life of the former Philadelphia Flyer:

Miroslav Dvorak was a rock hard square built defenseman who did not make his NHL debut until he was 31 years old in 1982. That's when the Czechoslovakian Ice Hockey Federation made him available for the Flyers.

Miroslav was a tough defenseman who was very hard to get by. He excelled in one on one situations and was excellent positionally. Miroslav played the body very well but he didn't pick up many penalties. He was aggressive but not stupid.

Miroslav was born in Hluboka nad Vltavou in 1951. His father was a waiter who worked many years in France. Miroslav's brother Pavel was an excellent soccer player. When Pavel was 17 many experts predicted that he would become a star forward in Czechoslovakian soccer. But a tragic accident put a stop to that. One day he jumped into very shallow water, ruptured his spleen and eventually died of his injuries.

Miroslav started playing hockey when he was eight at Munick√Ĺ Rybnik in Hluboka. When he was 14 he started playing for Motor Ceske Budejovice, a club he played for 16 seasons. (1965-72,74-82 and 87-88) He also played two seasons for the army club Dukla Jihlava (1972-74). His other clubs included Philadelphia Flyers (1982-85) , and German clubs Kassel (1985-87) and Essen (1987-88).

When he played in Philadelphia his play was highly appreciated by the Philadelphia organization. In 1983-84 he was named as the team's top defenseman. The popular teammate nicknamed "Cookie" also got to play in the Stanley Cup finals in 1985 where Philadelphia lost in six games to Edmonton.

He spoke no English when he first arrived in Philadelphia. Defense partner Brad Marsh took him under his wing both on and off the ice. With a Czech-English dictionary and a common appreciation for beer the two became best friends.

Complete Miroslav Dvorak biography

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