MOSCOW (KMOX) — The St. Louis Blues and their fans are mourning the loss of former Blues players Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev, who died in a plane crash in Russia.
Demitra and Korolev were among 45 people on board when the plane carrying the Lokomotiv, Kontinental Hockey League team to its season opening game, caught fire and crashed shortly after taking off.
There are reports of only two survivors.
Also killed were former NHL player and coach Brad McCrimmon and former NHL players Ruslan Salei and Karlis Skrastins.
Demitra played all or parts of 8 seasons with the Blues after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators in in 1996. In 494 games he recorded 204 goals and 289 assissts in the regular season.
In 66 playoff games he scored 18 goals and added 25 assists.
Korolev played two seasons with the Blues, scoring 10 goals and adding 33 assists. He had no points in five playoff games.
Blues broadcaster Chris Kerber says it’s a hard day for anyone in the hockey world, “This is a loss for all the Blues family. Pavol was a fantastic guy, he always had a smile on his face he was always willing to joke. he was always there with a fun attitude.”
Kerber says he was very popular in St. Louis and in later stops at Vancouver and Minnesota, “He was fast, he could play the game with great skill, but again, his personality was overwhelming and welcoming. That’s what you knew about Pavol Demitra. If you stopped to say hello it would be how he said hi. He was interested in what you had to say. He would talk with you. He was well liked everywhere he went because of the spectacular personality he had.”
Demitra’s agent, Matt Keator tells KMOX that Pavol loved his time in St. Louis, “He was very happy over there (in Russia) and playing, it was a great situation for him to finish his career, but he always talked about St. Louis, and the Blues, and how special they were to him. because that’s really where he emerged years ago.
“He always loved the Blue note. He loved the fans. His first big league experience was in St. Louis. He just a great time there. He really, really enjoyed the people.”
Blues President John Davidson issued the following statement:
“On behalf of the St. Louis Blues, we are deeply saddened by the tragedy that took place today in Russia involving the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club. The entire hockey community has been affected by this news and our most heart-felt condolences go out to the families of those who perished.”
“The St. Louis Blues have lost two members of our family, Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families as well. Pavol and Igor were both incredibly passionate and dedicated players and their influence in St. Louis was not only felt on the ice, but throughout the community.”
Demitra was 36 years old. He leaves a wife and two children.
Korolev turned 41 Tuesday.
Copyright KMOX Radio