The Philadelphia Flyers announced his death on social media over the weekend
Roman Cechmanek, a former goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers, died on Sunday in his native Czechia, the organization announced on social media.
The Flyers shared to X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday that Cechmanek, who spend three seasons with Philly from 2000 to 2003, died "suddenly." No cause of death was revealed.
The International Ice Hockey Federation shared that the former Flyer was "supposed to play hockey with friends" on Sunday but canceled because he wasn't feeling well.
His son reportedly found him in his apartment, and "foul play and suicide have been ruled out" for the cause of death, per the IIHF.
"The Philadelphia Flyers are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of former goaltender Roman Cechmanek," Keith Jones, president of hockey operations, shared in the team's statement.
"A late-round draft pick, Cechmanek spent three seasons with the team from 2000 through 2003 where he was highly successful and made an instant impact to our club on the ice and in the locker room."
Jones added that the NHL player was "beloved by fans and teammates for his personality, distinct style and pride in stopping the puck."
"He led the Flyers to three straight playoff appearances, two 100-point seasons and an Atlantic Division title, while also being a part of a remarkable tandem with Robert Esche to win the NHL's William M. Jennings Trophy awarded to the goaltenders with the fewest goals scored against during the regular season in 2002-03," he wrote of the player's stats.
"His passing at too young of an age is heartbreaking to us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time."
Cechmanek's achievements on ice also include being voted to the 2001 NHL All-Star Game and being selected twice as the Bobby Clarke Trophy winner, per ESPN.
“Roman was an acrobat in goal,” Ken Hitchcock, his coach in 2002-03, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He would use any part of his body to stop the puck. One of the characters of the game.”
Cechmanek was picked up in the sixth round of the 2000 NHL draft, and was eventually traded to the Los Angeles Kings in May 2003. He later played in in Germany and Sweden, and became a youth hockey coach in Czechia, per the Flyers.
The late NHL star is survived by his children Jakub, Roman Jr. and Katerina, the organization shared.
“We spent a lot of time together on the national team," retired goalie Milan Hnilicka said, per the IIHF.
“We were healthy competitors, which benefited the team. We always tried to be better than each other. It helped the whole group tremendously. When one didn't work out, the other jumped in. It was a proper rivalry; we both wanted to be the best. But can’t believe it. At 52, you are still a young person. It’s crazy. I can't believe he left us so soon."
“He always created a good atmosphere in the dressing room," IIHF Hall of Famer Robert Reichel added. “He was never angry and never looked worried. We knew we could rely on him.”
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