Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tragedy delays Lev Poprad's opener until Monday

Saturday was supposed to be the day that HC Lev Poprad made its debut in the Kontinental Hockey League. However, tragic events that occurred in the league are causing the start of the season to be delayed until Monday.

Captain Lubos Bartečko (#23), mourning the loss of a close friend,
will lead Lev into battle on Monday. Photo: Dominika Handzušová,
Instead, Poprad Arena will be the site of a memorial on Saturday. It will honour the victims of the plane crash on Wednesday involving fellow KHL club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl that claimed the lives of 43 people and critically injured two others. At 17:00, the scheduled start time for their home opener against Avangard Omsk, a ceremony will begin inside the arena that will be attended by all players from HC Lev Poprad and HK Poprad of the Slovak Extraliga.

As reported on Lev's website, this is a particularly emotional time for a couple of the team's players, particularly captain Lubos Bartečko and defenceman Martin Štrbák.

Bartečko was a close friend of victim Pavol Demitra. "About two hours before the tragedy, Paľo wrote me an SMS. After practice, I read it and I wrote back. This is a man who was part of my day-to-day life who has suddenly disappeared. May he rest in peace."

Štrbák, meanwhile, played for the Yaroslavl club from 2001 to 2003. "We won the championship that year," he said. "Many of those players were on board."

The season will now begin on Monday, with Lev hosting Metallurg Magnitogorsk at 19:00. The game with Omsk will be re-scheduled to another date, with other changes to the schedule likely being necessary as well. Although earlier reports indicated that the Yaroslavl club would be re-stocked and compete in the 2011-12 season, it now seems that they will take the year off. Presumably, the league's other 23 teams will have to play more games against other opponents to fill their schedules. Lev is scheduled to host Yaroslavl on November 28 and play there on February 24.

With 12 Czechs on the roster, Lev Poprad is likely to draw interest from Czech hockey fans, and Czech Hockey Report will follow the team's fortunes. Below is the roster that the club will open the season with:

#posnatnamebirthdateageheightweightshotlast club
30GCZETomáš Duba2.7.198130183 cm80 kgLZlín
50GSVKJán Laco1.12.198129181 cm83 kgLNitra
7DSWEAlexander Hellström17.4.198724190 cm95 kgLNovosibirsk
9DCZEJiří Hunkes31.7.198427183 cm85 kgRLiberec
88DCZEBohumil Jank6.7.199219189 cm87 kgLČ. Budějovice
22DCZETomáš Klouček7.3.198031191 cm96 kgLBarys Astana
25DUSAGrant Lewis20.1.198526191 cm88 kgRMilwaukee
24DSVKBranislav Mezei8.9.198031197 cm112 kgLPardubice
56DSVKVladimír Mihálik29.1.198724203 cm109 kgLNorfolk
29DCZEKarel Pilař23.12.197733185 cm92 kgRCSKA Moscow
5DCANJonathan Sigalet12.2.198625185 cm90 kgLSpringfield
77DSVKMartin Štrbák15.1.197536191 cm96 kgLDyn. Moscow
32FRUSRafael Achmetov31.1.198922186 cm77 kgL
72FCZEStanislav Balán30.1.198625186 cm80 kgLZlín
23FSVKLuboš Bartečko14.7.197635183 cm86 kgLMODO
26FCANDan DaSilva30.4.198526185 cm85 kgRWorcester
12FSWEKarl Fabricius29.9.198228185 cm90 kgLLulea
87FSWEAndré Hult5.12.198723180 cm83 kgLMolot-Prikamie
21FSVKRudolf Huna20.5.198031178 cm81 kgLVítkovice
14FCZEMartin Chabada14.6.197734185 cm85 kgRSodertälje
27FCZEJaroslav Kristek16.3.198031183 cm83 kgLKošice
51FSWEEmil Lundberg11.2.198229178 cm86 kgLHK Poprad
33FSVKJuraj Mikúš22.2.198724185 cm84 kgRSpart. Moscow
17FSVKLadislav Nagy1.6.197932180 cm87 kgLMODO
13FCZEVáclav Nedorost16.3.198229183 cm78 kgLNovokuzneck
71FCZETomáš Netík28.4.198229177 cm77 kgLCSKA Moscow
10FCZEŠtěpán Novotný21.9.199020187 cm86 kgRSwift Current
16FSVKPeter Ölvecký11.10.198525188 cm88 kgLKaiPa Kuopio
64FCZEJiří Sekáč10.6.199219183 cm79 kgLYoungstown
11FSVKRastislav Špirko21.6.198427175 cm79 kgLPardubice
average:27185 cm87 kg

1 comment:

  1. I think they might be in for a bit of a beating this season... just a hunch.