A Russian jet carrying a KHL ice hockey team crashed into a river bank Wednesday while taking off in western Russia, killing at least 43 people and leaving two others critically injured, officials said.
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed in sunny weather immediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles northeast of Moscow.
It said the plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team from Yaroslavl to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursday against Dinamo Minsk in the opening game of the season of the Continental Hockey League. The ministry was carrying 45 people, including 37 passengers and eight crew, and two people survived the crash.
My deepest condolences to the families, friends, fans and the hockey community for this tragic event.
It is my understanding that former King Pavol Demitra, former Duck Ruslan Salei, and former Detroit coach Brad McCrimmon (an 18 year NHL'er), were on the plane. I'm at a loss for words. This is just horrible.
See the team roster here.
UPDATE: I thought I would take a moment to share my greatest memory of former King Pavol Demitra. It was in late 2005 on Kings Hat Night when Demitra scored a hat trick (3 goals in a game). As you can imagine, when he achieved the trick the home town fans went crazy. Check out the video below. It was easily the greatest and most memorable hat trick I had ever seen. A big thanks to KingsRule41 for putting this up.