Former NHL player, Pavol Demitra, was among the 43 killed today in the Russian plane crash carrying the KHL hockey team, Locomotiv and the hockey world is expressing their shock and sadness over news over his death.
"At first we didn't want to believe it," said a Lokomotiv official regarding the crash, according to Yahoo.com. "But right now there is no hope. The team is gone."
Demitra, only 36 at the time of the crash, played a total of 16 seasons in the NHL with the Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, and Vancouver Canucks before signing with the KHL’s Locomotiv last year.
The Slovakian-born center was remembered for his great personality and skill on the ice.
"People were drawn to Demo. He was a great friend and great teammate," Matt Keator, Demitra's agent, told Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "He was always the type to bring people together. This is just awful. He was such a popular guy with everyone he has ever played with."
"I thought he was always one of our highest-skilled players on our team," former Blues general manager Larry Pleau said today, according to stltoday.com. "He grew up here. I think he really matured and grew up here. Became a better person and a better player. Married, children ... you see these things happen, and he was part of your life. It's shame when you think about the family and his wife and the kids."
“Everyone in Slovakia loved him, because he was our captain, and played like it,” tweeted Adam Kosnáč, a fan of the Slovakian-born center who was one of the Slovak team’s captains in the 2010 Winter Olympics. “He never underachieved. He is really missed.”
Demitra was a highly skilled player who averaged nearly a point per game over his career with 768 points in 847 games. His best season came as a St. Louis Blue in the 2002-03 season with 93 points, including 36 goals, in only 78 games.
Demitra is survived by his wife, Maja, and two children, Lucas and Zara. Demitra and his wife had a third child, Tobias, who died shortly after he was born in 2005, said NHL.com. Tobias and Zara were twins.