The St. Louis Blues are honoring former players Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev by wearing a No. 38 decal on the back of their helmets during the 2011-12 season.
Demitra and Korolev each wore No. 38 during their tenure with the Blues.
Both players were among the 44 who died in a tragic plane crash on Sept. 7 while traveling to open the KHL season with their team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. The accident claimed the lives of players, coaches, hockey personnel and crew members in the worst tragedy in professional hockey history.
“On behalf of the St. Louis Blues, we are deeply saddened by the tragedy that took place (Sept. 7) in Russia involving the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club," Blues President John Davidson said in a statement. "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.”
Demitra was acquired by the Blues in 1996 and spent eight seasons in St. Louis (1996-2004).
Igor Korolev was drafted by the Blues in the second round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft and spent two seasons in St. Louis (1992-1994).
Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak
, a native of Slovakia, has a tribute to Demitra painted on the back of his mask
this season. Halak and Demitra played for Team Slovakia at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The Blues also honored the players with a moving tribute video and a moment of silence prior to the home opener on Saturday at Scottrade Center.
Fans can raise money for the victim's families by purchasing unique memory bracelets at the True Blues Authentic Team Store for $10. In addition, fans can make a donation to the Demitra / Korolev Fund
, which was established by the Blues Alumni Association. The fund will give an opportunity to children who couldn't otherwise afford to play hockey.