It was just yesterday when I was looking through boxes full of my old jerseys and found my Pavol Demitra one. He had already been one of my favourite players even before he joined the Los Angeles Kings as my said jersey was one of the St. Louis Blues, the team Demitra played for before joining the Kings.
I can honestly say that Pavol Demitra was one of the few Kings in the last few seasons that I did not want to see go. I understand that Dean Lombardi was the newly-appointed general manager when he traded Demitra at the 2006 Draft but, still and all, I was fairly upset when he traded the Slovakian.
Today, though, we mourn the loss of Pavol Demitra, who was on board the Yakovlev Yak-42 that carried the entire team of Lokomotiv killing 43 people on board, including Demitra. Along with Demitra were former NHLers Karel Rachunek, Ruslan Salei and team head coach Brad McCrimmon. Jan Marek, who was acquired by the Kings in 2007 in the trade that sent Sean Avery to the New York Rangers, was also on board.
Although he only spent one season in Los Angeles, Demitra was a fan favourite with the Kings an will be sorely missed. In his 58 games with the club, Demitra scored 25 goals and 37 assists for 62 points.
I remember when I did first got my Pavol Demitra jersey, I actually shaved my head so I’d look just like him. It was an homage to a player I thought so highly of.
My heart goes out to not only Demitra’s family and friends but everyone associated with the tragedy. Along with Pavol Demitra, we remember the 42 others lost in the crash as well as the two surviving members for a full and speedy recovery.
Pavol Demitra was just 36 years old.