Former NHLer Marek Svatos died Saturday at his home outside Denver, Colorado. The Denver Post reports that the former Avalanche winger is survived by his wife, who he met while playing in Colorado, and two young children. The cause of death has not yet been reported. Pro Hockey Rumors joins in with the rest of the hockey world with thoughts for the Svatos family during this difficult time.
Svatos, a native of Slovakia, was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the seventh round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft after putting up impressive numbers with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. He got his first taste of NHL action in the 2003-04 season with a few games and was a full-time player with the Avs as a rookie following the 2004-05 lockout. A dynamic goal-scorer, Svatos scored 32 goals in just 61 games as a 23-year-old in 2005-06, finishing fifth in the voting for the Calder Trophy. While he would never match those numbers, the small, speedy Svatos continued to be a productive player in Colorado when healthy over four more seasons. Overall, he recorded 164 points in 316 games for the Avalanche. After leaving the team prior to the 2010-11 season, Svatos played a handful of games with the Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators before heading overseas to play at home in Slovakia. He retired from pro hockey in 2013-14, and continued to summer in Slovakia, but spent the rest of the year living near Denver, the place he called home for much of his career.
Well-respected and well-liked by teammates and coaches alike, his sudden loss has been felt by many. The Colorado Avalanche, now led by former Svatos teammate Joe Sakic, issued a statement describing Svatos as “a tremendous person, a talented hockey player and a great teammate”. Other than Sakic, Svatos also played with current Avs Matt Duchene and Cody McLeod, as well as team officials Adam Foote and Brett Clark. Fellow Colorado rookie Cody McCormick remembered Svatos this morning, as did former teammate Craig Anderson and good friend Darcy Tucker. Many around the NHL and beyond are saddened at the loss at a young age of a great former player and even better person.