Plane Carrying Hockey Team Crashes North of Moscow, Killing 45 Players and Staff
A jet transporting a Russian hockey team crashed during takeoff in a city north of Moscow on Wednesday, killing 45 people.
On board was the entire Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team, whose roster includes a number of former NHL stars hailing from Russia and Europe. Russian forward Alexander Galimov and a flight attendant were the lone survivors.
Among the dead:
- Brad McCrimmon, the team’s head coach, a long-time NHL defenseman who last played for the Detroit Red Wings
- Alexander Karpovtsev, an assistant coach and former NHL defenseman who was on the New York Rangers 1994 Stanley Cup-winning team.
- Igor Korolev, an assistant coach and former NHL center for the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks
- Josef Vasicek, a Czech center who played for the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders
- Karel Rachunek, a Czech defenseman who played for the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils
- Pavol Demitra, a Slovak center who played for the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks
- Karlis Skrastins, a Latvian defenseman who played for the Nashville Predators, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars
- Ruslan Salei, a Belarusian defenseman who played for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings
- Alexander Vasyunov, a Russian left wing who played for played briefly for the New Jersey Devils
The Yakolev Yak-42D jet (RA-42434), operated by Yak Service, was taking off from Tunoshna Airport in Yaroslavl — about 160 miles north of Moscow — enroute to Minsk for the season’s opening game against the Minsk Dynamo. An airport manager who witnessed the crash told Russia’s Life News that the plane had difficulty gaining takeoff speed, though the pilots did not report any mechanical problems during its takeoff roll.