Remembering Lokomotiv Yaroslavl

One year ago today, a plane carrying Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, a Kontinental Hockey League team crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 44 people on board, including all members of the team.

Among the players and coaches killed in the crash were 10 former NHLPA members: Coaches Brad McCrimmon, Alexander Karpotsev and Igor Korolev; as well as players Pavol Demitra, Stefan Liv, Karlis Skrastins, Josef Vasicek, Ruslan Salei, Karel Rachunek and Alexander Vasyunov.

Players from across the NHLPA membership, current and former, were deeply impacted by the loss of the Lokomotiv team, as many of them had personal relationships with players and coaches killed in the crash. Many of these players soon began to ask how they could help memorialize their former teammates and friends.

The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash was a shock to the hockey community. Today, on the first anniversary of this tragedy, the NHLPA family has everyone in their thoughts, especially the families of the victims." - NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director, Mathieu Schneider

The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash was a shock to the hockey community," said former NHL player and now NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director, Mathieu Schneider. "Today, on the first anniversary of this tragedy, the NHLPA family has everyone in their thoughts, especially the families of the victims."

After input from current and former players, it was decided that the legacies of the former NHLPA members killed in the crash should be commemorated. Two items were commissioned to act as a means of remembrance for the family and friends of the victims.

The first item is a photo library book that celebrates the careers of each player. The families will each receive ten copies of the book to distribute or display how they please.

The second item is a memorial plaque, cast in solid bronze and made by the same company that produces the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. These plaques will be mounted in a place that holds sentimental value to the family, whether that is privately in their home, or at the hometown arena where each of these players learned to play the game they loved.

These items are a strong reminder of the good men and hockey players who were lost last September, but can never fully fill the void felt by their families and friends after their tragic deaths.

The brotherhood of professional hockey runs deep. Players develop close friendships, families share experiences, children become close, all through the game that an elite few are fortunate enough to call their profession. It is this sense of community and closeness that ensures that September 7, 2011 is a date that will forever be remembered by everyone in the hockey community, for the most tragic of reasons.

We ask that all hockey fans take a moment today to remember the victims of the 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team.

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