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Former NHL All Star Tom Lysiak Dies at 63

rchdj10 via flickr.com

NHL

Former NHL Great Dies after Battle With Leukemia

Former NHL great and 3 time all star Tom Lysiak has died after battling Leukemia. Lysiak spent 14 seasons in the NHL, playing for the Atlanta Flames and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Lysiak was the 2nd overall pick in the 1972 NHL Entry Draft by the Flames, and joined the team in their second season as a franchise. He finished his rookie year with 64 points and was second in voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the leagues top first year player.

In Lysiak’s 5 seasons with the Flames, he led the team in points, as well as representing them in 3 NHL All Star games in 1975, 1976, and 1977. He served as the Flames captain for 2 years before he was traded to the Blackhawks in an 8 player deal.

Once joining the Blackhawks, Lysiak became a fan favorite and a top player for the team. He played 7 seasons with the Hawks, taking on the opposing teams top scorers, as well as being one of the teams continuous top offensive players. Lysiak had 4 straight goals with 20 or more goals, including the 1981-82 season where he scored a career high 32 goals.

Despite a great and long career, one of Lysiak’s most notable moments came on October 30th, 1983 in a game against the Hartford Whalers. Throughout the game, Lysiak had been continuously thrown out of the face off circle and was growing tired of it. So after being thrown out of another face off, he waited until the puck was dropped before jamming his stick into the knee of referee Ron Foyt, who dropped to the ice but was luckily not injured. He was given a 20 game suspension, which he appealed, but the suspension was upheld after rumors that the leagues officials were considering a walkout if the suspension was reduced. When Lysiak returned to the ice, his offensive numbers weren’t the same, and two seasons later he retired because of injuries.

Lysiak was diagnosed with Leukemia in May of 2013, and battled with it for 3 years before passing away on Monday night. His daughter, Jessica, who is married to San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun, tweeted this last night: “It saddens me to the core of my being to write this post. My dad lost his battle with Leukemia today and has gone to be with the Lord now”.

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