NHL Wiki
Pavol Demitra
Born 29 November 1974(1974-11-29)
Dubnica nad Váhom, Czechoslovakia
Died 7 September 2011(2011-09-07) (aged 36)
Yaroslavl, Russia
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 200 lb (91 kg; 14 st 4 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
Played for HC Dukla Trenčín (Cze-1/SlEx)
Ottawa Senators
St. Louis Blues
Los Angeles Kings
Minnesota Wild
Vancouver Canucks
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)
National team Template:Country data SVK
NHL Draft 227th overall, 1993
Ottawa Senators
Playing career 1992–2011

Pavol Demitra (born on November 29, 1974) was a Slovak professional ice hockey player who 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, Pavol was a first-or second-line forward throughout his career.

After a season with HC Dukla Trenčín in the CFIHL, he was selected 227th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators.

Pavol 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.

He began the 1996–97 season in a contract holdout with the Senators, resulting in him being traded to the St. Louis Blues in November of 1996.

After spending the majority of his first season with St. Louis organization in the International Hockey League, Pavol secured a regular roster spot with the Blues in 1996–97.

Pavol 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, he returned to HC Dukla Trenčín for one season. Upon returning to the NHL the following year, Pavol signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Kings.

After a year with Los Angeles, he was traded to the Minnesota Wild, where he played on the team's top line with winger Marian Gaborik.

In July of 2008, he became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Vancouver Canucks.

Pavol left the NHL after a two-year stint with the Canucks, joining Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League.

He spent the entire 2010–11 KHL season with Lokomotiv, netting 18 goals and 43 assists in 54 games.

On September 7, 2011 (on the eve of the 2011–12 KHL season), a plane carrying the Lokomotiv players and coaching staff crashed shortly after takeoff. Fourty-four passengers (including Pavol) died as a result.

In international competition, Pavol 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, he 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, Pavol 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.

Playing Career[]

Czechoslovakia Playing Career[]

Pavol began playing at the men's level with ZTS Dubnica in Czechoslovakia's second-tier league.

He recorded 23 points (13 goals and 10 assists) over 28 games.

The following season, he joined HC Dukla Trenčín of the premier Czechoslovak Extraliga in 1992–93 where he scored 11 goals and 28 points in 46 games.

After the season, Pavol was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the ninth round, 227th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. He came to be considered one of the best draft steals in NHL history.

Ottawa Senators[]

Pavol began the 1993–94 season with the Ottawa Senators, and in his first NHL game on October 9, 1993, he scored on St. Louis Blues goaltender Curtis Joseph for his first ever NHL goal and point in a 7–5 loss.

He played in 12 games for Ottawa during the season, scoring a goal and two points. Most of the 1993–94 was spent with the Prince Edward Island Senators of the AHL, as Pavol had 18 goals and 41 points in 41 games for the team.

Pavol spent most of the 1994–95 with PEI, where in 61 games, Demitra had 26 goals and 74 points to finish third in team scoring.

In five playoff games, Pavol had seven assists. He also spent time with Ottawa, as he scored four goals and seven points in 16 games.

Pavol began the 1995–96 season with PEI, as in 48 games, he put up 28 goals and 81 points, which earned him a promotion back to the NHL. With Ottawa, he had seven goals and 17 points in 31 games.

To start the 1996–97 season, Pavol was a contract hold-out with Ottawa. He played a game with HC Dukla Trenčín of the Slovak Extraliga, getting a goal and two points, before joining the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL. With the Thunder, he had eight goals and 21 points in 22 games.

On November 27, 1996, the Senators parted ways with Pavol as Ottawa traded him to the St. Louis Blues for Christer Olsson.

St. Louis Blues[]

The St. Louis Blues assigned Pavol to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the IHL where in 42 games, he had 20 goals and 50 points.

He was called up to the Blues, and played his first game with the club on March 17, 1997, getting no points in a 3–2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Pavol scored his first two goals with St. Louis on 3 April 1997, scoring twice against Tommy Salo in a 5–5 tie with the New York Islanders. He finished the season appearing in eight games with St. Louis, scoring three goals.

On April 16, 1997, he made his NHL playoff debut, recording his first playoff point, an assist in the Blues 2–0 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

On April 22, 1997, Pavol scored his first playoff goal, beating Red Wings goaltender Mike Vernon and added two assists in a 4–0 win over Detroit. Overall, he had a goal and four points in six playoff games.

Pavol made the NHL full-time in 1997–98, as he played in 61 games with St. Louis, scoring 22 goals and 52 points to finish fifth in team scoring. In 10 playoff games, he had three goals and six points.

The 1998–99 was a break-out season for Pavol as he finished tenth in NHL scoring with 89 points, as he scored 37 goals and added 52 assists in 82 games.

He appeared in the 1999 NHL All-Star Game held in Tampa Bay, Florida, scoring a goal for the World team in a 8–6 loss to North America. In the playoffs, Pavol added five goals and nine points in 13 games.

Pavol continued his success in 1999–2000 as he scored 27 goals and 75 points in 71 games to lead the Blues in scoring once again.

He played in the 2000 NHL All-Star Game held in Toronto, Ontario where he scored two goals in a 9–4 World victory over North America.

On February 12, 2000, Pavol also scored his first career hat trick, scoring three goals against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in a 6–3 Blues victory.

On March 24, 2000, he suffered a season-ending injury and missed the playoffs. After the season, Pavol was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy after he accumulated only eight penalty minutes throughout the season.

Injuries cut Pavol's season short in 2000–01 when he appeared in only 44 games with St. Louis.

Pavol scored 20 goals and 45 points to finish fifth in team scoring. He scored a hat trick and added two assists for a five point game against the New York Rangers on December 20, 2000 in a 6–3 win.

Less than a week later, on December 26, 2000, Pavol had another high scoring game, scoring two goals and four points against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 5–0 victory.

On December 30, 2000, Pavol suffered an injury, however, he came back with the team late in the season and appeared in 15 playoff games, scoring two goals and six points.

In 2001–02, Pavol was healthy as he appeared in all 82 games for St. Louis, scoring 35 goals and 78 points to lead the team in scoring and finish seventh in the league scoring race. He had a league high ten game-winning goals.

He had a four point night against his former team, the Ottawa Senators on November 27, 2001, scoring two goals and two assists in a 4–2 victory.

Pavol appeared in the 2002 NHL All-Star Game held in Los Angeles, California, however, he was held off the scoresheet in a 8–5 World win over North America.

In the playoffs, he appeared in 10 games, scoring four goals and 11 points. He had a four point night against the Detroit Red Wings on May 7, 2002, scoring a goal and three assists in the Blues 6–1 victory.

The 2002–03 was Pavol's most productive in the NHL as he set a career high with 93 points which placed him sixth in NHL scoring as he scored 36 goals and 57 assists in 78 games.

He had a hat trick and a season high four points on November 29, 2002 in a 7–2 win over the Calgary Flames. In the playoffs, Pavol had two goals and six points in seven games.

Pavol had a disappointing 2003–04 season, scoring 23 goals and 58 points, his lowest totals since his injury plagued 2000–01 season, in 68 games. In the playoffs, he had a goal in five contests.

This would be Pavol's final season with the Blues as he left the team fifth in franchise scoring with 493 points in 494 games.

HC Dukla Trencin[]

During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Pavol signed with HC Dukla Trencin of the Slovak Extraliga on September 17, 2004. He led the league in scoring with 28 goals & 82 points in 54 games.

Pavol scored four goals and 17 points in 12 playoff games with the team.

Los Angeles Kings[]

On August 2, 2005, Pavol signed a three year, $13.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Kings.

On October 5, 2005, he played his first game with the Kings, scoring an assist in a 5–4 loss to the Dallas Stars.

The next night on October 6, 2005, Pavol scored his first goal with his new team, scoring against David LeNeveu of the Phoenix Coyotes in a 3–2 win.

Pavol had three four-point games during the season, including one on November 22, 2005 against his former team, the St. Louis Blues in a 6–3 Los Angeles win. He missed 24 games with injuries (including an eye problem) during the season.

In 58 games during the season, he had 25 goals and 62 points to finish third in team scoring.

On June 24, 2006, Los Angeles traded Pavol to the Minnesota Wild for Patrick O'Sullivan and a first round draft pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Minnesota Wild[]

Pavol joined the Wild and fellow Slovak Marian Gaborik for the 2006–07 season. On October 5, 2006, he played in his first game with the Wild, recording two assists in a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

In his next game on October 7, 2006, Pavol scored his first goal with Minnesota, scoring against Tomas Vokoun of the Nashville Predators in a 6–5 victory.

He finished the season tied for first in team scoring as he had 25 goals and 64 points in 71 games. The 64 points were the highest by Pavol since 2002–03.

On April 11, 2007, Pavol played in his first playoff game with Minnesota on 11 April 2007, scoring a goal against Ilya Bryzgalov of the Anaheim Ducks in a 2–1 loss. He appeared in five playoff games, scoring a goal and four points.

He was named the captain of the Wild for the month of October 2007 as part of the Wild's rotating captaincy to begin the 2007–08 season.

Pavol had a tough season, scoring only 15 goals, his lowest total since 1996–97, and 54 points through 68 games as he finished fourth in team scoring.

In the playoffs, he had a goal and three points in six games. At the end of the season, Pavol became an unrestricted free agent.

Vancouver Canucks[]

On July 10, 2008, Pavol signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks.

On October 9, 2008, he played in his first game as a Canuck, getting no points in a 6–0 win over the Calgary Flames.

In Pavol's next game (also against Calgary), he scored his first goal with Vancouver, the game winning overtime goal against Miikka Kiprusoff in a 5–4 win.

He finished the season with 20 goals and 53 points in 69 games, finishing fourth in team scoring.

On April 15, 2009, he appeared in his first playoff game with Vancouver, recording an assist in a 2–1 win over the St. Louis Blues.

On April 30, 2009, Pavol scored his first playoff goal with the Canucks, scoring against Nikolai Khabibulin of the Chicago Blackhawks in a 5–3 victory.

On May 2, 2009, Pavol suffered a shoulder injury against the Blackhawks that would end his season. In six playoff games, Demitra had a goal and three points.

The 2009–10 would be a tough season on Pavol as he missed most of the regular season with the shoulder injury that occurred in the 2009 playoffs.

In 28 games, he had three goals and 16 points, his lowest totals since 1996–97.

In the playoffs, Pavol had a three point game against the Los Angeles Kings on 23 April 2010, helping Vancouver to a 7–2 win. Overall, he appeared in 11 playoff games, scoring two goals and six points.

After the season, Pavol became an unrestricted free agent which would mark the end of his NHL career. He had played in 847 career games and scored 304 goals with 464 assists for 768 points.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl[]

On July 15, 2010, Pavol joined Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL. In his first season with Lokomotiv, he scored 18 goals and 60 points in 54 games to finish fifth in league scoring.

In January of 2011, he was named Forward of the Month. In 18 playoff games with Yaroslavl, Pavol had six goals and 15 assists for 21 points which placed him second in KHL playoff scoring.


The 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash occurred on September 7, 2011 at 4:02 P.M. local time when when a Yakovlev Yak-42 passenger aircraft, carrying the entire hockey team of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), crashed near Yaroslavl, Russia, on its way to Minsk, Belarus, to start the 2011–12 KHL season.

The club's entire roster (including Pavol) was killed in the plane crash when the airplane caught fire and crashed shortly after take-off, a mere 4 kilometers from the Tunoshna airport.

Preliminary reports said that 43 of the 45 passengers on board had been killed, including the entire roster and 4 youth players. The remaining player Alexander Galimov was in critical condition, however, he died a few days later.

Pavol's agent, Matt Keator confirmed his client's death. He is survived by his wife Maja and two children, Lucas and Zara. He was predeceased by his infant son, Tobias.

Following Pavol's death, the elementary school in Dubnica nad Váhom (which he had attended) and the ice hockey stadium in Trenčín (where he started his successful career together with famous Slovak ice players Zdeno Chara, Marian Hossa, Marcel Hossa and Marian Gaborik) were named after him.

Career Statistics[]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1991–92 ZTS Dubnica CSFR-2 28 13 10 23 12
1992–93 ZTS Dubnica CSFR-2 4 3 0 3 2
1992–93 HC Dukla Trenčín Czechoslovak 46 10 18 28
1993–94 Ottawa Senators NHL 12 1 1 2 4
1993–94 PEI Senators AHL 41 18 23 41 8
1994–95 Ottawa Senators NHL 16 4 3 7 0
1994–95 PEI Senators AHL 61 26 48 74 23 5 0 7 7 0
1995–96 Ottawa Senators NHL 31 7 10 17 6
1995–96 PEI Senators AHL 48 28 53 81 44
1996–97 HC Dukla Trenčín Slovak 1 1 1 2
1996–97 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 22 8 13 21 10
1996–97 Grand Rapids Griffins IHL 42 20 30 50 24
1996–97 St. Louis Blues NHL 8 3 0 3 2 6 1 3 4 6
1997–98 St. Louis Blues NHL 61 22 30 52 22 10 3 3 6 2
1998–99 St. Louis Blues NHL 82 37 52 89 16 13 5 4 9 4
1999–00 St. Louis Blues NHL 71 28 47 75 8
2000–01 St. Louis Blues NHL 44 20 25 45 16 15 2 4 6 2
2001–02 St. Louis Blues NHL 82 35 43 78 46 10 4 7 11 6
2002–03 St. Louis Blues NHL 78 36 57 93 32 7 2 4 6 2
2003–04 St. Louis Blues NHL 68 23 35 58 18 5 1 0 1 4
2004–05 HC Dukla Trenčín Slovak 54 28 54 82 39 12 4 13 17 14
2005–06 Los Angeles Kings NHL 58 25 37 62 42
2006–07 Minnesota Wild NHL 71 25 39 64 28 5 1 3 4 0
2007–08 Minnesota Wild NHL 68 15 39 54 24 6 1 2 3 2
2008–09 Vancouver Canucks NHL 69 20 33 53 20 6 1 2 3 2
2009–10 Vancouver Canucks NHL 28 3 13 16 0 11 2 4 6 4
2010–11 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL 54 18 42 60 29 18 6 15 21 4
NHL totals 847 304 464 768 284 94 23 36 59 34

All-Star Game Statistics[]

Year Location   G A P
1999 Tampa 1 0 1
2000 Toronto 2 0 2
2002 Los Angeles 0 0 0
All-Star totals 3 0 3

Awards & Achievements[]

  • Awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 2000
  • Played in the NHL All-Star Game in 1999, 2000 and 2002
  • All-star selection and leading scorer of the 2010 Olympic hockey tournament
  • Fifth on St. Louis Blues' all-time scoring list (204 goals, 289 assists, 493 points in 494 games)
  • Team Slovakia retired his no. 38 jersey on September 11, 2011
  • HC Dukla Trenčín retired his no. 38 jersey on September 16, 2011. His former teammate and close friend Marian Hossa hoisted his number to the rafters.

Career Transactions[]

  • November 27, 1996: Traded to St. Louis by Ottawa for Christer Olsson
  • September 17, 2004: Signed as a free agent by Trenčín (Slovakia)
  • August 2, 2005: Signed as a free agent by Los Angeles Kings
  • June 24, 2006: Traded to Minnesota Wild by Los Angeles for Patrick O'Sullivan and first round pick (Edmonton Oilers' pick) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft (Trevor Lewis)
  • July 10, 2008: Signed as a free agent by Vancouver Canucks

International Play[]

Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for Template:Country data SVK
World Championships
Bronze 2003 Finland
Competitor for Template:Country data TCH
World Junior Championships
Bronze 1993 Sweden

Pavol was named to Team Slovakia for the 2010 Winter Olympics in his NHL hometown Vancouver.

On February 18, 2010, he scored in the seventh round of a shootout to help Slovakia beat Russia in the round robin.

In the semi-finals against hosts Canada, Slovakia trailed 3–0 after two periods but rallied with 2 goals in the third period and Pavol nearly scored with 9 seconds remaining in regulation, but his shot was stopped by Canucks teammate Roberto Luongo and the save was dubbed the "Glove from Above".

In the bronze medal game against Finland, Pavol assisted twice and scored once in the second period to help his team to a 3–1 lead even though they could not hold on as Finland scored four times (including an empty-net goal) in the third period to claim bronze.

Slovakia was ranked in fourth place as he led the tournament in points with 10 and tied for the lead in assists with seven.

Pavol's play in the tournament led him to a selection to the all-star team.

Pavol played for Czechoslovakia in the:

  • 1992 European Junior Championships
  • 1993 World Junior Championships (bronze medal)

Pavol played for Slovakia in the:

  • 1996 World Championships
  • 1996 World Cup
  • 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City
  • 2003 World Championships (bronze medal)
  • 2004 World Championship
  • 2004 World Cup
  • 2005 World Championships
  • 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino (captain)
  • 2007 World Championships
  • 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver
  • 2011 World Championships (captain)