Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Born on this date in 1959 in Opava, Czechoslovakia, Miroslav Frycer began his playing days with TJ Vikovice's junior team in the 1976-77 season. He graduated to Vikovice's senior club in 1977 and was with them for four seasons, during which he gained confidence and experience which was evidenced by an annual rise in his scoring totals. He began with 22 points in 34 games, followed by seasons of 34 and then 46 points, which came from 31 goals and 15 assists in a 44 game season.
His final season in Czechoslovakia saw Frycer tally 33 goals and 57 points in just 34 contests.
During his time with Vikovice, he also made annual appearances for his national team, beginning with the 1977 European Junior Championships. 1978 saw him play in his first World Juniors, while 1979 saw him once more compete in the World Juniors, followed a few months later by his debut at the World Championships with a single game.
He represented Czechoslovakia at the 1980 Olympics and closed out his international career at the following year's World Championships.
Following the memorable defections of Peter and Anton Stastny in 1980 to join the Quebec Nordiques, their brother Marian followed as year later, as did the 22-year-old Frycer in a separate defection to join the three Stastnys in Quebec, which obviously precluded him from playing for Czechoslovakia internationally going forward.
He played one season in Quebec, scoring 20 goals and 37 points in 49 games well as scoring 9 goals in 11 games with the Nordiques minor league affiliate the Fredericton Express. His NHL debut was a memorable one, being named the games first star following a hat trick performance in a 6-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
With the three Stastny brothers playing on a line, Frycer found himself the odd man out, having to skate with linemates he could not communicate with. Not exactly thrilled with his -12 defensive rating, the Nordiques dealt Frycer at the trade deadline to the Maple Leafs in the spring of 1982.
Frycer with Toronto during the 1983-84 season with the seldom seen Toronto 150th Anniversary patch
Given more playing time and adjusting to life in North America helped Frycer's game, as he scored 25 goals in 1982-83, 25 again in 1984-85, a season during which he was the only Toronto player to appear in the NHL All-Star Game. He then set career highs with 32 goals, 43 assists and 75 points in 1985-86 to lead the Maple Leafs in scoring. Also during that season Frycer set another career best when he scored four times in a high scoring 11-9 win against the Edmonton Oilers.
Injuries which affected his skating abilities began to take their toll on Frycer afterwards, and he was limited to 29 games in 1986-87 and 38 in 1987-88. This also was a time of friction between Frycer and the coaching staff in Toronto, which led to his being dealt to the Detroit Red Wings for the 1988-89 season. He was to play 23 games with Detroit before another trade later that season to the Edmonton Oilers for the final 14 games of his NHL career.
He moved back to Europe to continue his career, first with EHC Freiburg in Germany for the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons followed by a year in Italy with SG Brunico.
His final NHL totals were 415 games played, 147 goals and 183 assists for 330 goals.
Today's featured jersey is a 1985-86 Toronto Maple Leafs Miroslav Frycer jersey from the highest scoring season of his career when he scored 75 points.
This style Maple Leafs jersey was first worn back in 1970-71 with a lace-up collar, which then changed to a v-neck for a season, back to a lace-up collar for two and then back to a v-neck yet again. This style jersey underwent it's final change when in 1978 the Maple Leafs consented to putting names on the back, but not before protesting the league requirement for names by skating with invisible blue names on their blue jerseys for a pair of games in 1978!
By the time Frycer arrived on the scene, the lettering had long since been changed to a league-approved white on blue, and would remain unchanged through the 1991-92 season.