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Gone In An Instant

from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,

It was almost 10 years ago today – Sept. 7th, 2011 – and I was outside of North Toronto Arena, talking to Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews for a story that would appear in The Hockey News, when news broke over the internet: a plane had crashed in Yaroslavl, Russia – a plane filled with professional hockey players from Russia’s Kontinental League.

At first, the names of all who died in the crash (and in the end, all but one of the 45 people on board would not survive it) did not come out, until it was clear the plane was carrying Yaroslavl’s entire Lokomotiv team.

Slowly, the shock and grief set in.

If it was Lokomotiv that was on that plane, that meant Brad McCrimmon – a beloved former NHLer who was settling in as the team’s head coach – was on board. That meant Igor Korolev and Alexander Karpotsev, two men whom I had interviewed during their time as Toronto Maple Leafs, were on board. That meant former NHLers Kãrlis Skratinš, Ruslan Salei, Karel Rachunek, Josef Vašíček and Pavol Demitra were on it.

All recognizable names, all just so sad to imagine they were gone in an instant. The pain was overwhelming, and this was only the pain felt by the hockey community at large; it was difficult to imagine what the families of the players, coaches and flight staff were going through.


Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink


SYF's avatar

When I saw that Ruslan Salei was on that flight, I thought of Joe Sakic because Salei and Sakic were teammates in Denver for three years before Salei played for DET.  He was a very good defenseman and I appreciated his time with us.

If anyone remembers, Joe Sakic was one of the survivors of the tragic, tragic bus crash that killed four of his teammates with the Swift Current Broncos way back in December of 1986.  The news of losing yet another teammate to an accident had to have affected him in ways I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 09/07/21 at 02:07 PM ET

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com