SEVERAL ice hockey stars will participate in three exhibition matches in Poprad, Trenčín and Bratislava to commemorate Pavol Demitra, who died in a plane crash near the city of Yaroslavl in central Russia on September 7, 2011. The Slovak team will fight against former players of the St Louis Blues, a team for which Demitra played, the SITA newswire reported on August 18.

The initiators of the project are ice hockey players Ľuboš Bartečko and Kelly Chase, who leads the Alumni organisation in St Louis.

“The idea to organise such an exhibition has been resonating for more than two years, and now it has finally matured,” said Peter Šťastný, one of the organisers and former forward, as quoted by SITA.

Šťastný explained that Demitra’s former co-players from St Louis wanted to commemorate him and asked him to organise the event in Slovakia. Though it was difficult, they nevertheless managed to do it, he added.

“Excellent players of the NHL of various generations will fly to Slovakia to honour Paľo Demitra,” Šťastný continued, as quoted by SITA. “We want to remember the great player, sportsman and person with dignity. The results of the three matches do not matter; it is first of all an exhibition, and then a friendly duel.”

The first exhibition match between the Slovak Stars and the St Louis Blues Alumni will take place on August 20 in Poprad, with the second being held in Trenčín on August 22 and the last one in Bratislava on August 23.

The duels aim to help foster young ice hockey talents. Most of the proceeds will go to the Elementary School of Pavol Demitra in Dubnica nad Váhom, but also to other projects that involve working with youngsters, SITA reported.

The list of participating players include Bartečko, Peter Bondra, Marián Gáborík, Zdeno Chára, Miroslav Šatan, Ľubomír Višňovský, Richard Lintner, Michal Handzuš, Róbert Petrovičký, Ľubomír Sekeráš, Zdeno Cíger, Igor Liba, Branislav Jánoš and Arne Kroták on the Slovak side. The US team will be composed of former players of the St Louis Blues, like Scott Young, Jamal Mayers, Reed Low and Mike Sillinger, SITA reported.

The matches will be held under the auspices of Slovak President Andrej Kiska and US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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