Pavol Demitra was, for as long as I can remember, a mainstay on all Slovakian teams in international play. Slovakia isn’t exactly a hockey super-power, but when Canada was up against them, I always knew Demitra was one of their main threats and watched him closely.
This year Slovakia made a surprising run at the World Championships, claiming silver after falling to Russia in the finals.
Still, it was a big accomplishment for Slovakia, a major underdog when up against the likes of Canada, USA, Sweden, Finland, the Czechs and beyond.
The success was nice, but they greatly missed their dear teammate Demitra, who lost his life in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash (along with many others) of September 2011.
Zdeno Chara wore his jersey when he went to accept a “Player of the Game” award at World’s, as pictured above. Slovak Tomas Kopecky wanted to honor his friend too – in a touching gesture, he took the silver medal to Demitra’s grave. Video below.