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Slovakia shedding tears for unforgettable No 38: Pavol Demitra

Pavol Demitra, who died in a plane crash on September 7, earned much success in his career as an ice hockey player, but fans will remember him mainly for his moments of emotion and sadness. Demitra cried while making a farewell to his national team jersey, with the number 38, at the end of the Ice Hockey World Championship in Bratislava and four months later, all of Slovakia is shedding tears in grief over his tragic death in the plane crash in Russia, the TASR newswire reported.

Pavol Demitra, who died in a plane crash on September 7, earned much success in his career as an ice hockey player, but fans will remember him mainly for his moments of emotion and sadness. Demitra cried while making a farewell to his national team jersey, with the number 38, at the end of the Ice Hockey World Championship in Bratislava and four months later, all of Slovakia is shedding tears in grief over his tragic death in the plane crash in Russia, the TASR newswire reported.

An exemplary athlete and modest father of two little children has died. While the Slovak national team was saying goodbye to fans after its early elimination at the World Championship - at which many expected a medal or even the champions title, given the all-star roster - Demitra's predecessor as the team captain, Miroslav Šatan, said that no human tragedy had occurred and the life would go on. These words are chilling when recalled on September 7, 2011 as a real human tragedy has now taken place, TASR wrote.

After Slovakia's victory against Denmark at the world championship in early May, a match that did not change Slovakia's early departure, it was Demitra, the admired captain, who received the most frenetic ovation from the crammed stands.

"It's difficult to say: this is my last game," said Miroslav Satan on behalf of his friend after the game. "As we were able to see, Palo Demitra wasn't able to suppress strong emotion."

Demitra was barely able to speak, shedding tears. Satan could not have thought that this game was really Demitra's last one, TASR noted.

In his career, Demitra, 36, played for Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia); the Ottawa Senators, the St. Louis Blues, the Los Angeles Kings, the Minnesota Wild, the Vancouver Canucks (all of the NHL); and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL/Russia).

Demitra won a bronze medal as a member of the Czechoslovak team at the junior World Championship in 1993 and another bronze competing for Slovakia at the World Championship ten years later. Demitra won the individual scoring competition at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He was a three times a participant in the NHL's All-Star Game and was awarded the Lady Bing Trophy for sportsmanship in 2000 as he recorded only eight penalty minutes during the entire season, TASR wrote.

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