The Islanders lost a member of their family when prospect Stefan Blaho died in a car accident earlier this week. Stefan, a fourth round pick of the Islanders in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, was just 21 years old.
"Our thoughts are with Stefan's family and friends," said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. "I know all of our scouts were very fond of Stefan and are deeply saddened by the news this week. Everyone has been talking about what a good kid he was and how much he loved playing the game and being with his teammates."
The fatal accident late Tuesday night near the Slovak town of Krasnany. That evening Stefan had scored a goal for Slovak champion MsHK Zilina in an exhibition game against Banska Bystrica. After his draft selection by the Islanders, he spent three last seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with Sudbury and Sarnia. Stefan also represented Slovakia in the 2003 IIHF world under-18 championship and the 2004 IIHF world under-20 championship.
He is remembered fondly by everyone in the Islanders organization who came in contact with him when he took part in a pair of offseason conditioning camps on Long Island.
"Such a good kid," recalled Islanders assistant general manager Ryan Jankowski. "He worked so hard at those camps and enjoyed every moment he spent on Long Island. Stefan will be missed by all of us."