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Today, We Remember the Lokomotiv Tragedy

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One year ago today, the unthinkable happened.

On Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 16:05 Moscow Time, a YAK-42 carrying the 37 players and staff of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv KHL hockey team struck a beacon tower shortly after liftoff. Upon striking the tower, the plane sputtered a few hundred meters before crashing and bursting into flames on the banks of the Tunosha River. The plane was departing the Yaroslav airport on its way to Minsk, Belarus for the commencement of the KHL season.

Only one member of the flight crew survived.

It was an incident that shocked the league. It shocked the nation. And it shocked international hockey fans to the core.

Today, we take a moment to honor the lives of those who were lost in the accident.

Soon after the event, Lokomotiv was in an unfamiliar situation, unsure if they would compete during the 2011-12 season. They were inundated by offers from opposing clubs and players, willing loan their rites to Lokomotiv should they choose to participate in regular season play. In the end, it was decided the best tact would be to honour those who perished by forgoing their KHL season.

In August 2012, the Russian Hockey Federation along with Hockey Canada collaborated on the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the '72 Summit Series, creating the Canada Russia Challenge which featured prominent junior hockey players from both nations.

Russia was on board, provided Yaroslavl would host Russia's home games.

Here began the healing process.

For families and friends of the deceased, nothing truly heals the emotions of losing a loved one other than time. For fans, the love and passion for sport can often be a release where people can unite in grief and mourning and share in the healing process that comes thereafter.

Step two of said process took place yesterday, when fans packed the Arena 2000 in Yaroslavl to witness the rebirth of their beloved Lokomotiv squad.

They defeated Sibir Novosibirsk by a final score of 5-2 for their first home win in over a year.

There are some notable names on this years Lokomotiv roster. Former Winnipeg Jets defenseman Mark Flood signed with the team this summer, as did notable NHLers Sami Lepisto, Curtis Sanford and Nicklas Hagman. Viktor Kozlov has played in Ufa the past three seasons since leaving the NHL and he too has signed with Lokomotiv.

As time continues to heal the wounds which marked us one year ago, we still must take pause -- at least for a moment -- to remember one of the greatest hockey tragedies known to mankind.

Here is a list of those we mourn.

Forever in our hearts.


Vitaly Anikeyenko - 24 - Defenseman

Mikahil Baladin - 31 - Defenseman

Gennady Churilov - 24- Centre

Pavol Demitra - 36 - Centre

Robert Dietrich - 25 - Defenseman

Alexander Galimov - 26 - Left Wing

Marat Kalimulin - 23 - Defenseman

Alexander Kalyanin - 23 - Right Wing

Andrei Kiryukhin - 24 - Right Wing

Nikita Klyukin - 21 - Centre

Stefan Liv - 30 - Goaltender

Jan Marek - 31 - Centre

Sergei Ostapchuk - 21 - Left Wing

Karel Rachunek - 32- Defenseman

Ruslan Salei - 36 - Defenseman

Maxim Shuvalov - 18 - Defenseman

Karlis Skrastins - 37 - Defenseman

Pavel Snurnitsyn - 19 - Forward

Danill Sobchenko - 20 - Centre

Ivan Tkachenko - 31 - Left Wing

Pavel Trakhanov - 33 - Defenseman

Yuri Urychev - 20 - Russia

Josef Vasicek - 30 - Centre

Alexander Vasyunov - 23 - Left Wing

Alexander Vyukhin - 38 - Goaltender

Artem Yarchuk - 21 - Left Wing


Brad McCrimmon - Head Coach

Alexander Karpovtsev - Assistant Coach

Igor Korolev - Assistant Coach

Yuri Bakhvalov - Physician

Aleksandr Belyaev - Equipment Manager

Nikolai Krivonosov - Fitness Coach

Yevgeni Kunnov - Massage Therapist

Vyacheslav Kuznetsov - Massage Therapist

Vladimir Piskunov - Administrator

Yevgeni Sidorov - Coach/Analyst

Andrei Zimin - Team Doctor