Private Jet Carrying Russian Team Crashes, Killing 43

An unprecedented tragedy within the world of hockey occurred Wednesday when a private jet carrying the entire playing and coaching staff of KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crashed, killing 43 passengers on board. Only one crew member and one lone player, Russian forward Alexander Galimov, survived. They were both rushed to a nearby hospital.

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Among those on board when the plane crashed were:

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  • Head coach Brad McCrimmon, who played 18 years in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup in 1989 with the Calgary Flames. McCrimmon had just left the Detroit Red Wings in may to take over as Lokomotiv’s head coach.
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  • Pavol Demitra, a three-time all-star who scored 768 points in 847 NHL games, most of which were played with the St. Louis Blues. He also won a Bronze medal with Slovakia at the 2003 Olympics. He was a stand out for the Slovakians at the 2010 Olympics, where he scored a tournament-leading 10 points and was named to the tournament’s all-star team.
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  • Karlis Skrastins, who played 847 NHL games and represented his native Latvia 84 times on the international stage.
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  • Josef Vasicek, who played 468 NHL games and won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes.
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  • Ruslan Salei, a punishing, physical defender in his prime, who played 917 games in the NHL and reached the Stanley Cup finals once, in 2003 with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Salei represented Belarus 64 times internationally and is perhaps the finest player the country has produced.
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At this point the cause of the crash is still unknown. My heart, and the heart of the hockey world, goes out to all of the families affected by the crash.

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