Outpouring of grief for tragic Sheffield Steelers star Marek Troncinsky
The Sheffield Steeler who knew tragic Marek Troncinsky the best has paid a heartfelt tribute to the friend and teammate who died at the weekend.
Josef Hrabal, a fellow Czech national, has been stunned by the shock passing of the defensive kingpin.
Hrabal has known and played alongside "Tron" for years and says he cannot come to terms with his loss.
"It is hard to realise that I will never see him again," he said.
"He loved company. Even when I had my own apartment I would spend all day in his place sitting on the sofa, watching TV and talking all day long.
"At the same time he would chat with five other friends on the phone!"
Hrabal said his friend was a straight-talker.
"He had no problem saying what he felt was honest and true to your face; that was why I liked him so much.
"I played with him in three other teams in my career. We had so much fun and dealt with many problems" Hrabal told The Star.
"I miss you my friend, I would say 'Rest in Peace' but I am not sure you want to rest."
Other team-mates paid their own tribute to the 32-year-old husband and father of one.
Czech goaltender Tomas Duba said: "It is so sad, I was so shocked. It is really hard to believe. Such a young lad. RIP friend."
Centreman John Armstrong tol The Star: "It was really hard waking up to this news. Losing him is both a tragedy to everyone who knew him and to the game of hockey itself.
"He was truly one of the most talented defencemen I’ve ever played with.
"Not only did we have a lot of fun joking around in the dressing room and giving each other a hard time, but he was also an incredibly dependable teammate.
"Whenever I needed a ride he would happily pick me up and never once complained. He cared about his teammates and winning more than I think most people knew. I am really going to miss him."
Defenceman Aaron Brocklehurst said he was "in absolute disbelief.
"He was a great teammate that was always happy and smiling. He had a way of lighting up a room. He will be missed for sure."
Winger Anthony DeLuca added: "The news was awful and I can’t imagine what his family is going through. It’s hard to believe all of this. I’m honestly without words. Rest In Peace, Tron."
Great Britain's Ben O'Connor was clearly emotional during a post game press conference in Latvia, during the world championships.
"I found out before we got to the rink; you didn't see it coming. He was the heartbeat, he was always so happy, with a smile on his face, everybody loved him, the fan base in Sheffield, players, the coaching staff and my thoughts go out to his family and his little one.
"You met him once and you remembered him, he was that type of character. A great person, he is going to be missed.
"There was never a dull moment around Tron, he'll go down in Sheffield's books as a player who will never be forgotten."
GB team-mate Robert Dowd posted on social media the simple message: "RIP Big Man."