Hockey mourns KHL team plane crash

A devastating tragedy on Wednesday claimed the lives of 43 people – including several former NHL players – when a Yak-42 jet crashed in Northwest Russia. The plane was carrying members of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team of the Kontinental Hockey League.

The ex-NHL players among the deceased are:
• Pavol Demitra
• Alexander Karpovtsev – Lokomotiv assistant coach
• Igor Korolev – Lokomotiv assistant coach
• Brad McCrimmon – Lokomotiv head coach
• Karel Rachunek
• Ruslan Salei
• Karlis Skrastins
• Josef Vasichek
• Alexander Vasyunov

Also perishing in the crash were Daniil Sobchenko and Yuri Urychev, two members of the 2011 Russian junior team that rallied to defeat Canada in the gold meal game of the IIHF Under-20 tournament in January.

In a statement issued by the Maple Leafs the club said “The Toronto Maple Leafs are deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev, who died in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl tragedy on Wednesday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Alexander and Igor, and all those who were involved in today’s plane crash.”

McCrimmon, a veteran of 1,222 NHL games, was remembered by his former Flyers teammate Dave Poulin, vice president of hockey operations for the Maple Leafs.

“Really sad news,” Poulin said. “I’m finding as the day goes on that I’m less apt to say anything at this point. A lot of reflection regarding Brad, and what we all went through together. It was a very tight group of guys. Our thoughts and prayers from Toronto certainly go out to his family.”

Former Leafs associate general manager Mike Smith, who brought Korolev and Karpovtsev to Toronto said “Igor and Potsie were extremely well-received everywhere they went.”

On Korolev, Leafs’ director of media relations Pat Park said “He helped all of our young guys with their language and cultural issues in those days. He was so easy to work with. And he was a great influence on Nikolai Kulemin’s career with Magnitogorsk before Nikolai came over here. Igor came to see him play so we would see him around the wives’ lounge at the ACC a few times the past year.”

TMLfans.ca extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victims of today’s tragedy.

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