Former Leaf Walt Poddubny Dead at Age 49

Dino MoriAnalyst IMarch 22, 2009

7 May 2001: Toronto Maple Leafs fans waves flags during game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New Jersey Devils at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The Devils won 4-2. DIGITAL IMAGE.  Mandatory Credit: Harry How/ALLSPORT

Former Toronto Maple Leaf winger Walt Poddubny died yesterday after collapsing at his sister's home in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  He was 49.

Cause of his death has yet to be determined.

Poddubny played 11 seasons in the NHL, including six years with the Maple Leafs organization in Toronto and St. Catharines, the club's American Hockey League affiliate.

Poddubny was acquired by the Maple Leafs back in 1982 from the Edmonton Oilers farm team in Wichita for center Laurie Boschman.  The Oilers picked Poddubny 90th overall in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft.

He played 231 games for both the Leafs and the AHL Saints, registering 92 goals and adding 120 assists. 

Many Leaf fans will fondly remember Poddubny playing alongside the Czechoslovakian duo of Peter Ihnacak and Miroslav Frycer back in the early 1980s.

In his first full season with Toronto, Poddubny had 59 points in 72 games.  Knee problems forced him to miss most of the next two seasons. 

In 1985, when management requested he return for a second conditioning stint with St. Catharines Saints, Poddubny resisted the demotion and was sent packing to the New York Rangers for winger Mike Allison.

That year, the Thunder Bay native responded with his best season in the NHL, scoring 40 goals and adding 47 assists in 75 games.  Overall, Walter recorded three 30+ goal seasons in the NHL.

Poddubny also played for the Quebec Nordiques and New Jersey Devils.

He spent three years in the German Elite League before ending his playing career with the Worchester Ice Cats of the AHL back in 1994-95 after a two-year hiatus.

Following his retirement, Poddubny coached in Daytona Beach of the ECHL and Anchorage, Alaska of the WCHL.

In 2003, he came home to Thunder Bay to be with his children, and was involved in minor-league coaching and celebrity appearances.