He then won a gold at the 1992 World Juniors during a remarkable period in history, as the team arrived in Finland as the Soviet Union, winning their first three games, including one on December 31st, 1991, before their country ceased to exist and they played their game on January 1st, 1992 as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)!
Zholtok spent the majority of his first season in North America of 1992-93 playing with the Providence Bruins of the AHL, appearing in one game with Boston, registering an assist for his first NHL point.
Zholtok was also a key part of the Wild's unexpected run to the Western Conference Finals, which included dramatic comebacks from being down 3 games to 1 to both the Colorado Avalanche in round 1, including his assisting on the series clinching goal in overtime of Game 7 by Andrew Brunette, and again to the Vancouver Canucks in round 2. Zholtok would total 13 points in 18 games during the Wild's playoff run.
Late in the game, Zholtok left the bench area to return to the locker room and collapsed. Hendrickson, still in his hockey gear ran to the team bus to retrieve his cell phone and called Minnesota Wild team medical director Sheldon Burns, telling him that Zholtok was having the "same episode as last year."
For 20 agonizing minutes Burns communicated instructions through Hendrickson to the paramedics, one of whom spoke English and Russian. At one point Zholtok told Hendrickson "Don't leave" according to Hendrickson's agent Neil Sheehy. They attempted to shock his heart but all their attempts to save him failed and Zholtok died in Hendrickson's arms.
With Latvia now free to conduct their own national team program, Zholtok skated for Latvia at the 1994 World Championships in the B Pool and in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2004 in the Top Division of the World Championships, scoring 21 goals and 32 points in 34 games at the senior level for Latvia as his NHL commitments would allow.
Their jerseys would only undergo minor detail changes while remaining in use through 2004, such as collar style and sleeve number placement, and see Latvia through some of their finest moments, such as their emotionally charged 3-2 defeat of Russia at the 2000 World Championships in Russia, and defeating the Russians again 2-1 in 2003.
This jersey also displays Zholtok's #33 in place of his original #16, as by now he had adopted his new NHL number, with which he had enjoyed a revival of his career, for use with the national team later in his career.
The new club, Riga 2000 arose for the 2004-05 season and competed in the Belarussian Extraliga. The team was active until the 2008-09 season until the reorganization of the original Dinamo Riga club in 2008-09.
Zholtok returned to Latvia to play for Riga 2000 during the NHL lockout season and played in six games for the club until his sudden passing on November 3, 2004.
Today's first video was produced by the Minnesota Wild and is from Sergei Zholtok Night at the Xcel Energy Center.