Slovak hockey is in mourning as former national team forward Marek Svatos died in Lone Tree near Denver. The Kosice native was just 34 years old. The cause of death hasn’t been confirmed.
Svatos wore the national team jersey at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin and at the 2010 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Germany, and also played in one U20 and one U18 World Championship. He spent most of his NHL career with the Colorado Avalanche. He appeared in 344 NHL games for the Avs, Nashville and Ottawa.
Marek Svatos started playing ice hockey in his hometown of Kosice. Since his youth he was considered one of the biggest Slovak talents. As an 18-year-old he moved to North America and was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the seventh round.
During the 2002 World Juniors he became, together with Mike Cammaleri, the best goal scorer of the tournament scoring seven goals in seven games. He finished the season as a winner of Memorial Cup with his WHL team Kooteney Ice.
His debut in NHL came during the 2003/2004 season playing in four games for Colorado. After the lockout he earned his place on the Avalanche roster and showed big potential. With his 32 goals and 18 assists he was ranked among the best rookies in 2005/2006.
Despite his great start in NHL he never reached the numbers of his rookie season. Due to injuries he missed many games.
For 2010/2011 he left Colorado for the KHL but came back after a few games with Avangard Omsk and split the season at NHL teams – the Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators. This was his last NHL season.
In the 2013/2014 season he tried to relaunch his career in the KHL with Slovan Bratislava. His last club was symbolically his home club HC Kosice where he finished his career as champion of Slovakia in 2013/2014.
Marek Svatos was married to an American designer of Korean descent, Diane and lived in the Denver area with her and their two children.