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Tragedy Strikes NHL Yet Again In Russian Plane Crash

Lauren Ammatuna |
September 7, 2011 | 10:17 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer


Demitra was an NHL journeyman who played for five different teams. (Canyonero via Creative Commons)
Demitra was an NHL journeyman who played for five different teams. (Canyonero via Creative Commons)
While en route from Yaroslavl, Russia to Minsk, Belarus for the Kontinental Hockey League’s season opener, a Russian plane carrying the KHL team Lokomotiv crashed during takeoff. It’s been reported that 43 people perished in the crash, including former NHL player Pavol Demitra. 

Demitra, 36, played for the Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues and the Vancouver Canucks during a 16-year career, and was a fan favorite. He scored the game-winner in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics match against Russia for his native Slovakia.

The team confirmed that the main core of the roster was aboard the failed flight, including four members of the youth team, according to NHL.com.

Head coach Brad McCrimmon, who just took the job in May after serving as assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings, was killed in the crash, the Russian Times confirmed. In addition to being on the administrative side of the NHL for the New York Islanders, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Detroit Red Wings, McCrimmon had a 17-season career that saw him playing for the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Flames, Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, and the Phoenix Coyotes.

Ruslan Salei, a former Ducks player who also played for the Wings, the Avalanche and the Panthers, was also apparently on board. 

Two people are believed to have survived the crash, and according to NHL.com, one of them is forward Alexander Galimov. He remains in critical condition.

There are 27 men listed on the Lokomotiv roster, with their ages ranging from 19-38. They are players not just from Russia, but from Ukraine, Czech Republic, Poland, and Belarus. Many of the men had connections to the NHL and their deaths leave gaping holes in many hockey communities worldwide. 

This is yet another tragedy to strike the hockey community, during a summer that has already claimed the lives of three NHL players. 

Watch a video of Demitra's Olympic game winner below:


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