It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year already. With an offseason plagued with death, we were all shocked to hear the news that a Yak-42 D carrying 45 people crashed after taking off from the Yaroslavl airport on route to Minsk, Belarus. On the plane was the entire Lokomotiv team. They were heading to their first game of the KHL season.
The NHL lost Derek Boogaard on May 13, 2011. Rick Rypien passed away on August 15, 2011. Shortly after on August 31, 2011 we learned about the death of Wade Belak. They say things come in threes. In the most horrifying offseason in hockey history, that proved wrong as the NHL lost several of their own when the old Russian plane went down.
They were considering rebuilding the team for the 2011-2012 season with juniors. They also considered building the roster with players from other teams. More than thirty players stepped forward and said that they would play for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. However, they decided to focus on the families and rebuild the team back to the KHL level over the course of the year. The ‘new’ Lokomotiv team played in Russia’s Major Hockey League, the second highest league in Russia below the KHL. They played 22 games, and made it to the playoffs. Unfortunately they were eliminated in the second round. This past offseason they replenished their roster and coaching staff with professionals who have played in the NHL and other leagues.
They had an emotional victory in their first game on September 6, a day before the one year anniversary of the tragedy. They played in Novosibirsk against Sibir. The game was sold out and tickets were hard to get. As the team took to the ice for the first time, Sibir fans chanted “LOKO! LOKO! LOKO!” before the puck dropped. The players who passed were honored with a moment of silence, and their pictures were projected onto the ice.
To remember the tragedy, the KHL held no games yesterday on the anniversary. Memorials were held world wide. They raised the sweaters of every player in Arena-2000, the home of Lokomotiv.
Let us remember those who perished in this awful tragedy. Let us also not forget Wade, Rick, and Derek.
Here is a list of those who died, from Wikipedia.com
|Jan Marek[C]||31||Czech Republic||C|
|Karel Rachůnek[C]||32||Czech Republic||D|
|Josef Vašíček[D]||30||Czech Republic||C|
- ^ A. 2000 Lady Byng Trophy winner, three-time NHL All-Star
- ^ B. 2006 Olympic champion and 2006 World champion
- ^ C. 2010 World champion
- ^ D. 2005 World champion and 2006 Stanley Cup champion
- ^ E. Player had dual citizenship (Russian and Ukrainian although dual citizenship is not recognized in Ukraine)
- Yuri Urychev was injured and suspended at the time and was not originally scheduled to fly to the game, but he volunteered to go to support the team even though he would not be able to play. Forward Maxim Zyuzyakin, 20, was left behind in Yaroslavl.
|Yuri Bakhvalov||–||–||Physician/Massage Therapist|
|Aleksandr Belyaev||–||–||Equipment Manager/Massage Therapist|
|Alexander Karpovtsev[A]||41||Russia||Assistant Coach|
|Igor Korolev[C]||41||Russia/Canada||Assistant Coach|
|Nikolai Krivonosov||31||Belarus||Fitness Coach|
|Yevgeni Kunnov||–||–||Massage Therapist|
|Vyacheslav Kuznetsov||–||Russia||Massage Therapist|
|Brad McCrimmon[B]||52||Canada||Head Coach|
|Andrei Zimin||–||–||Team Doctor|
- ^ A. 1993 World champion and 1994 Stanley Cup champion
- ^ B. 1989 Stanley Cup champion
- ^ C. Korolev became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 2000 but had dual Russian and Canadian citizenship.
- Goalkeeper coach Jorma Valtonen was not on the plane as he stayed behind to work with the junior team.
|Nadezhda Maksumova||Flight attendant|
|Vladimir Matyushin||Flight engineer|
|Elena Sarmatova||Flight attendant|
|Elena Shavina||Flight attendant|
|Alexander Sizov||Avionic engineer|
|Igor Zhivelov||First Officer|
|Sergei Zhuravlev||First Officer|
An offseason threatened by a lockout is almost trivial compared to the mass loss of life that we saw last offseason.
@HulaDolly @BoltsByTheBay @FanSided