Devastation in Hockey World

The plane transporting the Kontinental Hockey League’s Lokomotiv team crashed, leaving devastation in its wake, with over 40 deaths. Many of these were ex-NHL players and coaches including: Karlis Skrastins, Ruslan Salei, Josef Vasicek, Alexander Vasyunov, Karel Rachunek, Igor Korolev, Alexander Karpovtsev and coach Brad McCrimmon. There was one survivor from the Lokomotiv team: Alexander Galimov, as well as a crew member.

Death of Demitra

One player who was killed in the crash was Pavol Demitra. His hockey playing history included a two-year stint for the Wild, the Los Angeles Kings, the St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and the Ottawa Senators. He had impressive statistics, including over 300 NHL goals, 768 points and 464 assists. He was only 36 at the time of the crash. Josh Harding, Wild goaltender, expressed his devastation yesterday: “I was just at the rink with some of the guys this morning, and we are all shocked and devastated by this news. Pavol was a good friend and a great teammate. We had some good battles out there in practice. He will be missed.”

The death of Demitra has hit the Wild team particularly badly, given that it hasn’t even been four months since another team member – Derek Boogaard – passed away. Boogaard played with the team between 2005-10. As Harding sadly says, “I can’t remember this much bad news in one year. We are still dealing with the loss of Boogy, and now this.”
This sentiment was echoed by Rene Fasel, International Ice Hockey Federation President: “this is the darkest day in the history of our sport. This is not only a Russian tragedy, the Lokomotiv roster included players and coaches from 10 nations. This is a terrible tragedy for the global ice hockey community with so many nationalities involved.’”

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