In a summer wrought with hockey tragedy, it’s time to prepare yourself for the worst news yet. A chartered team plane carrying much of the KHL club Yaroslavl Lokomotiv has crashed in Russia shortly after takeoff, killing at least 36 people on board. Do yourself a favor and follow Dmitri Chesnokov on Twitter today — he’s a very well-placed source for Russian hockey news and will likely be able to relay news to you far more quickly than any other outlet.
While we await confirmation of the individual losses (and there seems to be some confusion at the moment), let’s reflect on some of the members of Lokomotiv that have ties to the Detroit Red Wings.
The former Red Wing defenseman and coach departed Detroit following last season to become the head coach of Lokomotiv. My encounters with Coach McCrimmon were pleasant, and he was very much “one of the guys.” As of 11:13am, it was reported that he was on the plane, and his life has been lost. He was 52 years old, and leaves behind a wife, a son, and a daughter.
A 2000 Draft Pick of the Wings, Liv played one season in Grand Rapids before returning to play in the Swedish Elite League. Though he hadn’t played with the NHL club, he was a fan favorite with his eccentric helmet artwork. He was 30 years old.
One of the defenseman from last year’s Red Wings squad, Rusty was on board the plane according to Russian officials and Dmitri Chesnokov. Salei had a wonderful season in Detroit, making a fan out of many of us in short order. My fondest memory comes from the trip I took to Nashville with the team, where Salei had just learned that his wife was expecting their third daughter. He was 36 years old.
Please stay tuned as more information is likely to become available and stories become confirmed. We’d like to stress that we do not know the sources of the linked stories and only wish to pass on the most recently available blurbs. Further, our thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends of the individuals who have lost their lives in another hockey tragedy, including former NHLers Pavol Demitra, Karlis Skrastins, and Karel Rachunek.