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Pavol Demitra Memorial Service Held

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Message board sign outside Scottrade Center in St. Louis on September 10, 2011. (KMOX/Brad Choat)

Message board sign outside Scottrade Center in St. Louis on September 10, 2011. (KMOX/Brad Choat)

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TRENCIN, Slovakia (AP) — Thousands have come to a Slovak ice hockey arena to honor Pavol Demitra, who died in a plane crash that wiped out an entire Russian hockey club.

President Ivan Gasparovic and major Slovak hockey stars, including Zdeno Chara, Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik, attended.

The memorial ceremony was held Thursday in Trencin’s arena, where the former captain of Slovakia’s national team began his career in the top Slovak league in 1992.

Demitra was among 37 players, coaches and staff of Russia’s Lokomotiv Yaroslav hockey club who died last week when their Yak-42 jet crashed outside Yaroslavl en route to their first game of the season.

Igor Nemecek, president of the Slovak ice hockey federation, call Demitra “a hockey genius” and “a role model for our young players.”

Copyright Associated Press

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