ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — Though the tragedy of losing Igor Korolev and Pavol Demitra occurred two months ago, the moment at Scottrade Center before the puck was dropped between the Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night was emotionally stirring. All of the fans were standing, both teams were at the bench, and the ice was filled with Blues alumni plus other friends from the Blackhawks organization where Korolev played for two seasons.
Blues TV broadcaster John Kelly led the ceremony that celebrated two former Blues players that both wore #38 while playing in St. Louis. Former teammates and coaches that were on the ice for the ceremony included Brett Hull, Curtis Joseph, Geoff Courtnall, Jeff Brown, Rick Zombo, Scott Young, Keith Tkachuk, Tony Twist, Reed Low, Kelly Chase and many more. Current Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenville along with coach Mike Kitchen were also on the ice standing by the former colleagues of Igor and Pavol.
Igor Korolev’s family, his wife Vera along with daughters Kristina and Anastasia, were brought onto the ice to a roaring crowd mixed with Blues and Blackhawks fans. They stood behind the podium where Brett Hull spoke about his former teammate that he began playing with in 1992. After his emotionally charged words, Hull presented the Korolov family with a jersey and portrait of Igor portraying his time with the Blues.
Keith Tkachuk, who was said to be Pavol Demitra’s favorite teammate to play with while in St. Louis, spoke on behalf of his friend. Demitra’s family could not be in town for the ceremony, but his wife Maja wrote a note that was read by John Kelly.
Also to commemorate the occasion, the Blues wore their usual road white jerseys with a special #38 patch near the right side of the collar that will all be auctioned off following the game. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Demitra/Korolev Fund, which will offer children a chance to play hockey in both St. Louis and in Europe by paying their registration fees or purchasing hockey equipment they would not otherwise have been able to afford.
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