Sad day for hockey fans.
News of the plane crash in Russia this morning that killed most of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team from the KHL is making the rounds in the media, but especially so on sports sites and hockey blogs. Plane crashes often feel like one of those things that happens to other people, but this one went down with a lot of names I’m familiar with so it feels more real.
The majority of the 43 dead weren’t people I would have known about, but there are players I remember watching: Skrastins, Salei, Vasicek, Rachunek… All played for rival teams, but the names still ring a bell. The one I remember most clearly is Pavol Demitra. He was very good in his prime, less so towards the end of his NHL career, but playing for his home country of Slovakia he was terrifying if you were cheering for a different set of colours. I remember him being one of the best men on the ice during the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and almost tying the Semifinal match against Canada with the game almost over. He was about an inch away from robbing the Canadian team of it’s spot in the finals. I don’t know if it should be written off to fate, luck, or goaltending, but something smiled down on the hometown boys that day.
My condolences go out to all the families mourning tonight.