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.