Article at a glance:
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.