Several former NHL players were killed along with members of the KHL hockey team Lokomotiv in the Russian plane that crashed earlier today. There are conflicting reports of survivors, but many news outlets report that a crew member and Alexander Galimov are seriously injured. Most definitely a sad, sad day in the world of hockey. Pavol Demitra, a former NHL All Star, was among the dead.
The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl play in the Kontinenal Hockey League. The team was comprised of several former NHL players, which included in addition to Demitra, Ruslan Salei, who played for Detroit, Karel Rachunek, who played for the New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers, Karlis Skrastins, who recently played for the Dallas Stars and Josef Vasicek, a former Carolina Hurricanes player and who most recently played for the New York Islanders. Head coach for the Lokomotiv, Brad McCrimmon, who hailed from Canada, was a former longtime NHL player during the 80’s and 90’s. Most recently he was an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings.
The Yak-42 left Yaroslavl and was en route to Minsk, where the team was scheduled to play in the opening game Thursday against the Dinamo Minsk. The plane crash has sent the NHL reeling with grief, as former and current players were among those who died. Commissioner Gary Bettman said:
“Though it occurred thousands of miles away from our home arenas, this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world — including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends who at one time excelled in our League. Our deepest condolences go to the families and loved ones of all who perished.”
In the last several months we saw the deaths of Wade Belak, Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard. Now this. What a tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families of the victims. RIP.