Pavol Demitra (29 November 1974 – 7 September 2011) was a Slovak professional ice hockey player. He played sixteen seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL), two in the Czechoslovak First Ice Hockey League (CFIHL)/Slovak Extraliga and one in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Known as an offensive player, Demitra was a first- or second-line forward throughout his career.
After a season with HC Dukla Trenčín in the CFIHL, Demitra was selected 227th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators. He subsequently left Slovakia to join the Senators organization and played three seasons between the NHL and the American Hockey League with Ottawa's minor league affiliate, the PEI Senators. Demitra began the 1996–97 season in a contract holdout with the Senators, resulting in him being traded to the St. Louis Blues in November 1996. After spending the majority of his first season with St. Louis organization in the International Hockey League, he secured a regular roster spot with the Blues in 1996–97. Demitra spent his most successful seasons with St. Louis, being named to three NHL All-Star Games (1999, 2000 and 2002) and winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 2000. He achieved the 30-goal mark three times and the 90-point mark once with the Blues. Due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Demitra returned to HC Dukla Trenčín for one season. Upon returning to the NHL the following year, he signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Kings. After one year with Los Angeles, he was traded to the Minnesota Wild, where he played on the team's top line with winger Marián Gáborík. In July 2008, he became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Vancouver Canucks.
Demitra left the NHL after a two-year stint with the Canucks, joining Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League. Demitra spent the entire 2010–11 KHL season with Lokomotiv, netting 18 goals and 43 assists in 54 games. On 7 September 2011, the eve of the 2011–12 KHL season, a plane carrying the Lokomotiv players and coaching staff crashed shortly after takeoff. 44 passengers, including Demitra, died as a result.
In international competition, Demitra began his career with Czechoslovakia. He won a gold medal at the 1992 IIHF European U18 Championship and a bronze medal at the 1993 IIHF World U20 Championship. After the country split in 1993, Demitra began competing for Slovakia. Beginning in 1996, he played in six IIHF World Championships, winning a bronze medal in 2003 and captaining his country in 2011. In 1996 and 2004, Demitra participated in the NHL-sanctioned World Cup. He was also a three-time Olympian and played his first tournament in 2002. Four years later, he captained Slovakia and in 2010, where he led all scorers in points and was named to the tournament's All-Star Team.
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