Gyorgy Pasztor 1923-2022
by Martin Merk|22 AUG 2022
Gyorgy Pasztor hand the silver-medal trophy of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in Budapest to the Italian team.
photo: Laszlo Mudra
Former IIHF Council member, IIHF Life member, IIHF Hall of Fame member, Honorary President of the Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation, owner of a Hungarian Order of Merit. Dr. Gyorgy Pasztor was a beloved member of the international ice hockey family, held in high esteem and always warmly welcomed guest whenever he showed up at a hockey game in Hungary despite his old age.

On Monday, 22 August 2022, Pasztor passed away at the age of 99.

Many in the Hungarian ice hockey family fondly called him just Gyuri bacsi (Uncle Gyuri) or Mr. Hockey. Seeing this well-respected legend rejoin with the hockey family at a game or at one of his high-number birthdays always got younger and older people in the room a gleam in their eyes. He was a former player and long-time manager in Hungarian hockey, a great teller of stories from foregone times but even more a great human being.

Pasztor was born on 2 March 1923 in Torokbalint outside of Budapest where he started to play hockey with improvised skates on frozen lakes. As a forward he won six Hungarian championships and became a member of the Hungarian national team. However, since the social government of that time didn’t give him the permission to travel outside of the Eastern bloc he was limited to just two international games and would be able to join IIHF tournaments only in his later career as a hockey manager.
Gyorgi Pasztor accepts a jersey for his 95th birthday from Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation General Secretary Levente Sipos and former General Secretary Zoltan Kovacs.
photo: HIHF
In Hungary he played top-level hockey between 1941 and 1960. Late in his career he was a player-coach and joined the Hungarian Ice Sports Association as player representative. From 1963 to 1988 he served as President of the ice hockey committee within the Hungarian Ice Sports Association and helped to establish the independent Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation where he served as Vice-President until 1994. In 1989 he also became a member of the Hungarian Olympic Committee where he was a honorary member.

Pasztor started to attend IIHF congresses as Hungary’s delegate in 1959 and continued to do so regularly also in late ages as IIHF Life Member when health allowed it, most recently at the 2019 IIHF Annual Congress when he was 96.

He was elected as an IIHF Council member in 1982 and served on the Council until 1994 when he retired from his international functions and was named Life Member. A pharmacist by trade, Pasztor was a member of the IIHF Medical Committee from 1971 to 1994 and its chairperson from 1982 to 1994.

In 2001 he became the first Hungarian to be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.

Pasztor still attended league and national team games in Hungary until recently and was always welcomed with enthusiasm by the Hungarian hockey family, which gladly hoped to celebrate his 100th birthday with him next year. Unfortunately he passed away five months into his 100th year of a long life filled with the sport he loved so much.