Sep 2011 7

Pavol Demitra–Former Vancouver Canuck–Dies in a Plane Crash

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Pavol Demitra playing for Vancouver Canucks
Pavol Demitra by Wikipedia
(authored by Kaiser matias)

Today was a sad day for all hockey fans. The entire team of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL, flying to the 2011-2012 season opener, died in a plane crash near Yaroslavl, Russia. On-board the plane was former star of Vancouver Canucks, Slovak hockey player Pavol Demitra. Demitra was on board with Karel Rachunek, Josef Vašícek, Ruslan Salei, Karlis Skrastinš, Jan Marek, and other ice hockey players.

Demitra played for the Canucks for two years between 2008 and 2010. He started playing professional hockey in 1992 and was drafted into the NHL by Ottawa Senators in 1993 already. By these measures, he was a true Canadian, beginning and ending his career on the Eastern and Western coast, respectively. He even played in an All-Stars game in Toronto in 2000. To this day, Demitra is widely considered one of the best late round draft steals in NHL history.

While playing for the Canucks, Demitra suffered several injuries, but always recovered promptly and resumed playing in very short time. He managed to score 20 goals and earn a total of 53 points in the first season alone.

Demitra was not only popular in Canada, but he was one of the best-loved hockey players in his wonderful home country of Slovakia. Slovakia is a relatively small country in central Europe and a birthplace to some of the best hockey players in the world, including famous NHL names like Peter Bondra, Zdeno Chára, Richard Zedník, Marián Gáborík, Lubomír Višnovský, Marián Hossa, and others.

The 2011 Ice Hockey World Championships (taking place in Bratislava, Slovakia and Košice, Slovakia) was Demitra’s last time partaking in the Slovak national team and representing his country as the team’s captain in this prestigious venue. After Slovakia’s last match in the Championship, Demitra received a long standing ovation and loud cheers from the entire audience in what was likely the most touching moment of this year’s Championship.

Demitra played a forward centre and had exemplary manners that earned him a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 2000. He also received a Golden Puck, an award for Slovakia’s best hockey player, in 2003. In the hearts of his fans, he will always be a legend thanks to his unparalleled play style and mature, non-violent game.

Pavol Demitra's last match in Slovakia
Pavol Demitra by Reuters/Grigory Dukor (first seen on

Pavol Demitra was an exceptional hockey artist who always enjoyed the respect of his team members. He is going to be deeply missed by all fans of great ice hockey.

Jay Banks and his team wish to express their most sincere condolences to Pavol Demitra’s family and friends, as well as the relatives of all the other KHL players on board.

May we remember only the best about our fellow Canuck and his KHL teammates.

Demitra poster and candles by Slovak hockey fans in Trencín
Poster and Candles in Trencín, Slovakia (as seen on
Poster reads: "Thank you, Palo!"

Please feel free to share your compassion in the comments, if you like.

One Response to “Pavol Demitra–Former Vancouver Canuck–Dies in a Plane Crash”

  1. Viera Hirschova

    Dear Jay,

    As the Slovak citizen, I was deeply touch by hearing about the death of Pavol Demitra. At first we all hoped he was not there… I feel sorry for all the people touched by this tragic accident.

    Your appreciation of our beloved hockey player Mr Demitra brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for remembering his great hockey career and his home country.


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