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  • KHL team plane crashes, killing 43 Print
    Latest Headlines
    Written by Curtis Zupke   
    Wednesday, 07 September 2011 16:19

    The airplane was carrying members of Lokomotiv Yaroslav, including former NHLers Ruslan Salei, Pavol Demitra, Karlis Skrastins and Brad McCrimmon.

    An NHL offseason already marked by tragedy took a profound turn Wednesday with a plane crash that killed 43 members of Russia’s KHL club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

    Several former NHL players, including Karlis Skrastins, Pavol Demitra (pictured below), Ruslan Salei (pictured below Demitra) and coach Brad McCrimmon (pictured below Salei) have been confirmed dead, according to reports.

    Pavol DemitraOther members on board include former Carolina Hurricanes center Josef Vasicek, former Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers defenseman Karel Rachunek, former Los Angeles Kings prospect Jan Marek and Stefan Liv, a goalie drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 2000.

    Daniil Sobchenko, a 20-year-old forward drafted in the sixth round by the San Jose Sharks in June, was also killed.

    The plane crashed shortly after takeoff into a riverbank in western Russia with members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl club. Two members of the crew survived the crash, according to the Web site sovsport.ru.

    The news sent shock waves across the NHL as players went to Twitter to offer condolences. NHLRuslan Salei commissioner Gary Bettman issued the following statement:

    "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,” Bettman said. “Our deepest condolences go to the families and loved ones of all who perished."

    The tragedy comes after a summer in which NHL enforcers Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak were found dead.

    Brad McCrimmon“I can’t believe I’m writing another one,” Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan wrote on his Twitter account. “Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by the KHL plane crash. Too many players gone this year.”

    Demitra, 36, scored 304 goals for St. Louis, Los Angeles, Minnesota and Vancouver and was a three-time member of Slovakia’s Olympic team.

    Salei, 36, played 917 games over a 13-year career with Anaheim, Florida, Colorado and Detroit. Skrastins, 37, played 832 games for Nashville, Colorado, Florida and Dallas before he signed with Lokomotiv.

    “This has been a hard summer for the NHL and this is obviously devastating news again,” Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk told ESPN Dallas. “It hits home very hard here because Karlis was a great teammate for a lot of these guys and always gave his hardest on his ice and was very much loved by his teammates. He was a great father. This is tragic news. “

    McCrimmon, 52, was in his first year as Lokomotiv coach. He was an 18-year defenseman in the NHL and was previously an assistant with Detroit.

    The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

    The team was traveling from Yaroslavl to Minsk and set to play its season opener on Thursday.

    Photo of plane crash by Getty Images

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    Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 September 2011 21:20