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Thousands bid farewell to hockey legend Demitra

Several thousand people turned out in the first hour of a public farewell ceremony in Trenčín on Thursday, September 15, to farewell Slovak ice hockey legend Pavol Demitra, who died in a plane crash in Russia on September 7, the TASR newswire reported.

Several thousand people turned out in the first hour of a public farewell ceremony in Trenčín on Thursday, September 15, to farewell Slovak ice hockey legend Pavol Demitra, who died in a plane crash in Russia on September 7, the TASR newswire reported.

Several thousands more from all around Slovakia queued outside the ice hockey arena in Trenčín and waited for their turn to bid farewell to one of Slovakia's greatest-ever ice hockey players. The official part of the farewell ceremony was opened shortly after 15:00 by singer Pavol Habera. The head of the Slovak Ice Hockey Association (SZĽH), Igor Nemeček, and a host of Demitra's teammates from the Slovak national team attended the ceremony. Attendees closed the ceremony with a thunderous ovation.

Many former teammates from the national team paid tribute to Demitra – most notably Marián Gáborík, who delivered an address on behalf of Demitra's 10 closest friends from among the community of professional ice hockey players. "He was reliable, self-sacrificing, selfless and as the captain he was always able to lead the team. He was always delighted when scoring a goal but was even more delighted when assisting on a goal," said Gáborík. On behalf of all the national team, Gáborík also vowed to help Demitra's family, just as Demitra used to help their families.

After the ceremony, the coffin was loaded in to a hearse, with hundreds of other people who had watched the ceremony on a large screen outside the arena also paying tribute to Demitra.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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