YAROSLVAL, RUSSIA—A Russian jet, carrying op ranked Lokomotiv ice hockey team crashed into a riverbank northeast of Moscow minutes after takeoff Wednesday. At least 43 people were killed, two others were critically inured. Former LA Kings forward, Pavol Demitra, was one of the players killed in the crash.
45 passengers were on board; 36 were players, coaches and team officials, eight were crewmembers.
The crash is one of the worst tragedies involving a sports team. Officials stated that only one Russian player, Alexander Galimov, survived along with a crewmember. The plane was on its way to Belarus to play against Dinao Minsk in its season opener.
Locomotiv Coach Brad McCrimmon, a former NHL defenseman who worked as assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings, also died in the crash.
"This is the darkest day in the history of our sport. This is not only a Russian tragedy, the Lokomotiv roster included players and coaches from 10 nations," said Rene Fasel, president of the international Ice Hockey Federation.
Ruslan Salei, who played nine seasons with the Ducks, was also killed. The NHL and local hockey communities are reeling from the catastrophic loss.
"The Los Angeles Kings organization is deeply saddened with the tragic news of this morning’s plane crash in Russia that was carrying the members of the KHL’s Lokomotiv organization, including former Kings forward Pavol Demitra, former Kings prospect Jan Marek and many other members of the NHL family,” said the LA Kings in a statement.
Several hundred mourning fans wore the team’s jerseys and scarves in remembrance. The fans gathered at the stadium to remember the fallen team.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends of those affected by this terrible occurrence," the Kings said.
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