KHL Plane Goes Down

A plane carrying the KHL team Lokomotive Yaroslavl has crashed in Russia killing 36 (or is it 43) people on board and this is not the way I would like to begin a story. It’s already been a horrendous summer with the passing of three fine hockey players.

But it’s happened and it’s shocking, and the link to the CBC story can be seen here Russian Jet Carrying Hockey Team Crashes. Former NHL player and coach Brad McCrimmon was the coach of this squad, and ex-NHLer Pavol Demitra was on the team.

Over the years I’ve oftened thought about this sort of thing happening in the NHL and how tragic it would be if it did. Imagine us losing our Montreal Canadiens in one fell swoop? No, I can’t imagine.

There are those on pro teams deathly afraid to fly and some have retired prematurely because of the situation. Gump Worsley drove his car to other cities as much as possible to avoid the big silver bird. This new development isn’t going to help ease the fear of flying at all for the many afflicted now with what Gump had. And I’ll bet there’s at least a few on every team.

What a horrible piece of news to read. But I have to say this. Russian planes have had a lousy accident history over the years and planes crash far too often there. Russia is a country that went head-to-head with the U.S. with their once innovative and proud space program. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was and remains the most revered hero in the nation. But their airline industry is second rate. Up until recently at least, Russian airlines (not mentioning any names) would sometimes pack their planes so full that some passengers had to stand in the aisle.

This might kill any desire of North Americans players to play in Russia from here on in. And I’m sure the Brent Sopel family, with him now playing in Siberia, have a sick feeling in their guts at this moment.

We in the hockey world mourn the loss of the people on this ill-fated plane, and we pray it never happens again. R.I.P.


16 thoughts on “KHL Plane Goes Down”

  1. Totally agreed on that sentiment – I believe there is a contingency plan in the NHL (at least there used to be one) regarding this scenario. I am not certain if it still exists or if it has been updated since it was drawn up. One of those things you hope never happens. Rest in Peace all who have perished and maimed and prayers to all their families and friends.

  2. It’s a sad day indeed. And it’s not over yet. Sidney Crosby is expected to hold a press conference in about a half an hour from now.

    Sportsnet is reporting that Crosby is expected to make a “major” announcement.

    Let’s hope for the best. But I’m fearing the worst. Hope I’m wrong…

  3. Thanks, Danno. I was wondering where I was going to see it because the on-screen TV guide isn’t mentioning anything.

  4. Danno, the Crosby situation is horrendous. It was a real shame when Bobby Orr packed it in prematurely because of his knees and it would a real shame if Crosby is forced to too. Away with head shots. They’re evil.

  5. Regarding Sidney: listening to my local sports station (Team 990) they say it’s expected that Sidney will be back this season and should be there for the start of training camp. They are usually spot-on with their news so hopefully that is what is going to happen. I hope he’s not announcing his retirement.

    I always wondered about this happening in the NHL as well. Considering the amount of teams and the amount of travel each year, I’m amazed (and very thankful) that it’s never happened here.

    I also heard there were a few ex-NHL guys on the plane but who there are I don’t know yet.

    This is so sad. What a sad off-season this has been. My heart goes out to all the families that lost someone in that accident.

  6. Darth, It’s a terribly sad day and I’m wondering if my Russian wife, who’s at work, had heard yet.

  7. Darth, Lokomotiv’s ex-NHL’ers names are listed in this article from the Toronto Star…


    Some of Lokomotiv’s players (it was not known whether they were on board the plane):

    • Brad McCrimmon – Coach

    • Josef Vasicek — Played for Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, NY Islanders

    • Pavol Demitra — Played for Ottawa Senators from 1993-1996. Also played for St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks from 2008-2010

    • Karel Rachunek — Played for Ottawa Senators from 2000-2004. Also played for NY Rangers, NJ Devils

    • Vitali Anikeyenko — Drafted by Ottawa Senators in 2005. Never played in NHL

    • Alexander Vasyunov — Played for NJ Devils 2010-11

    • Stefan Liv — Drafted by Detroit Red Wings in 2000, played in AHL in 2006-07

    • Jan Marek — Drafted by NY Rangers in 2003, never played in NHL

    • Daniil Sobchenko — Drafted by San Jose Sharks in 2011, never played in NHL

    • Ivan Tkachenko — Drafted by Columbus Blue Jackets in 2002, never played in the NHL

    • Daniel Tjarnqvist — Played for Colorado from 2008-2009



    Our hearts go out to the friends and family of all who died in this tragic accident

  8. Thanks for the link Danno. God I can’t believe this. There are people online actually making jokes about this. People can be so disgusting sometimes.

    It’d be nice if the NHL did a memorial for them, or at least the Habs in the season opener.

  9. You’ve got to be kidding Darth. I can’t believe it.

    I think the NHL will do something for sure. It’s too big a tragedy to just ignore and there are many ex-NHLers who died.

    I fully expect the Bell Centre to do something dignified and classy as they are so good at doing.

  10. Dennis,

    Seeing as how you have always kept a weather eye on hockey in Russia (and the other bits of the old CCCP), I knew you’d do right by those who affected by this tragedy.

    It doesn’t in any way diminish others who lose their lives in a similar fashion but a whole sports club being involved always has a certain poignancy to sports fans.

    The Munich plane crash that so affected Manchester United is still iconic over here (and is used by some so called fans as a way to rile United fans even to this day, which fits with Darths observation about jokes above….).

    A sad day

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