Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 09/15/11 at 06:35 PM ET
The Carolina Hurricanes lost a family member in the tragic plane crash last week, which wiped out the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team. Josef Vasicek, who played 347 regular season games and 37 Stanley Cup playoff games with the Canes, was among the dead.
When the Hurricanes were a very bad team, he was playing his best hockey, leading the team in goals (19) and points (45) in the 2003-04 season. He always gave his best, and although he was scratched for most of the 2006 playoffs, he was there and he got his name etched on Lord Stanley’s Cup. He was never the most talented player, but he worked hard and he never complained His attitude on and off the ice endeared him to the fans and players.
Now, he’ll be honored by the team where he spent the bulk of his NHL career. Before the home opener on October 7, fans will be treated to a Josef Vasicek video tribute. There will also be a tribute to him in the players’ lounge. In addition, the players will wear a patch in his honor all season long. This presumably, will be similar to the patch players wore on their left shoulder in the 1999-2000 season to honor defenseman Steve Chiasson, who was killed in a car crash. That patch was simply a red 3 in a black circle. This will likely be a red 63 in a black circle.
There is some speculation that the team will also create an award in his name, as it did for Steve Chiasson. That’s purely speculation at this point.
Opening night isn’t in my mini-season ticket package, but I’m absolutely going to make it happen. And I’ll un-retire the Vasicek sweater that brought such good luck in the 2005-06 season.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.