Former Calgary Flames defenceman Zarley Zalapski dead at 49
Former Calgary Flames defenceman Zarley Zalapski has died at the age of 49 after suffering complications related to a viral infection, according to a statement sent on behalf of the family.
Zalapski was admitted to the Foothills Hospital’s cardiac intensive care unit in October with a viral infection, according the statement. He was released later that month after extensive treatment.
Due to complications from the infection, Zalapski died in his sleep on Sunday.
“We are deeply saddened with the news of Zarley’s passing,” Flames president and CEO Ken King said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
“We are proud that Zarley wore the Flames jersey; made Calgary his home following his playing career; represented our alumni executive; and we will always remember him as a member of the Flames family.”
Zalapski leaves behind two sons, aged 17 and 12, along with his mother, father, sister and nephew. The family is requesting privacy at this time.
Zalapski was born in Edmonton on April 22, 1968.
The left-shooter was drafted to the NHL in 1986 at the age of 18 to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He played for the Flames from 1993 to 1997, when he then played for the Montreal Canadiens for one season before playing for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1999/2000 season.
“This is a terrible loss of a man with great character who truly loved the game of hockey. We express our sincere condolences to the Zalapski family,” King said.
WATCH: Former NHL defenceman Zarley Zalapski who played for five NHL teams including parts of five seasons with the Calgary Flames has died at the age of 49.
Zalapski also played for Team Canada and took to the ice in Calgary in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
Following his 10-year run in the NHL, Zalapski also played for a number of professional hockey teams in Europe from 2001 to 2010.
Many current and former NHL players took to Twitter to share condolences and fond memories of Zalapski.
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