With the NHL still coping with the deaths of players Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak, the hockey world is reeling with today’s tragic news out of Russia about the crash of Jaroslavl Lokomotiv’s team flight shortly after take-off. Here’s the story, starting with the original report by the Associated Press, as it has unfolded since the news broke this morning. 

MOSCOW— The Associated Press

A Russian jet carrying a local ice hockey team crashed Wednesday while taking off in western Russia, killing 36 people and leaving one critically injured, officials said.

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The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed immediately after taking off from an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 240 kilometers northeast of Moscow. It said one person survived the crash with grave injuries.

The ministry said the plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team from Yaroslavl.

The team was heading to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursday against Dinamo Minsk in the opening game of the season of the Continental Hockey League. The CHL is a league of several ex-Soviet nations.

The team is coached by former NHLer Brad McCrimmon and the most up-to-date Jaroslavl roster lists Pavol Demitra, Karel Rachunek, Josef Vasicek, Ruslan Salei and Karlis Skrastins among the players on the team. Former Edmonton Oiler Alexei Mikhnov played with Lokomotiv for the past five seasons, but was not among the players listed on the most current roster.

There are are no details, as of 7:55 MT, as to who was travelling with the team and who the lone survivor was. More to come.


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Yahoo! Sports’ Dmitri Chesnokov added some clarity through translation Tweeting (@dchesnokov), SovSport is reporting that the lone survivor (at this point) is a crew member. No news about any survivors from #Lokomotiv.


TUNOSHNA, Russia (AP) — Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry says at least 43 people have died in the crash of a Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team.

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The ministry said the plane was carrying 45 people, including 37 passengers and eight crew. The ministry said all but two people were killed in the crash.

The ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed immediately after takeoff from an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow.

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Daniel Tjarnqvist, who played with the Oilers during the 2006-07 season, is listed as a player with Jaroslavl in a report by World News, but reports are he left the team earlier this summer. No confirmation on that.


Spoke with J.J. Hebert of the Oilers, but still no word if Mikhnov, drafted 17th overall by the Oilers in 2000, was a member of Jaroslavl this season and/or was travelling with the team.


According to Dmitry Chesnokov of the International Sports Press Association, a team official tells Sovetsky Sport “everyone from the main roster was on the plane and four players from the youth team.”

Lokomotiv forward Alexander Galimov survived the crash, his agent confirmed to Sovetsky Sport, Chesnokov reports.


Russian officials to SovSport: "Ruslai Salei was on board the plane."

Former NHL star Pavol Demitra’s agent, Matt Keator, confirmed his client was one of the players killed in the crash.

"This is just awful," Keator said. "He was such a popular guy with everyone he has ever played with."


This from Eetu Huisman (comment 16) :Tjärnqvist signed with Djurgården in June and Mikhnov with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in May, so neither of them was in the plane.


As per Huisman information above, Mikhnov is listed on the Metallurg Magnitogorsk roster:


Statement from KHL Website:

"Russian hockey has been stunned by news of a plane crash which has killed almost all of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s team as they travelled to Belarus for their opening fixture of the KHL season.

A club spokesman confirmed that the aircraft was carrying the club’s players to their game with Dinamo Minsk, which was due to be played on Thursday.

Among those on board was newly-appointed head coach Brad McKrimmon, recently arrived from Chicago Black Hawks to take charge of the team for the 2011-12 season. Two members of the World Championship-winning Czech team of 2010, Jan Marek and Josef Vasicek, were also among those in the crash.

The team’s Yak-42 crashed on take-off from Yaroslavl’s Tunoshna airport shortly after 4 pm Moscow time. There were just two survivors among the 45 passengers and crew on board, including player Alexander Galimov and Alexander Sizov, a member of the flight crew. Earlier reports had said that 36 of the 37 passengers had died.

Preliminary information from Rosaviatsiya suggests that the plane failed to gain height after leaving the runway and collided with a navigation beacon before coming to earth about 2 km from the airport.

Shocked silence
As news filtered through to Ufa, where the league was celebrating the start of the new season with the traditional rematch of last season’s grand final, the game was abandoned.

KHL president Alexander Medvedev interrupted play 15 minutes into the first period to announce the tragedy to a packed arena, which responded in shocked silence.

After a brief meeting between the players and officials of hosts Salavat Yulaev, guests Atlant Moscow Region and representatives of the KHL, the game was postponed.

That decision was greeted with respectful applause from the crowd, while Medvedev went on to pledge his support for the Yarolslavl club.

“We will do all that we can to ensure that top level hockey continues in Yaroslavl and that Lokomotiv remains one of the strongest clubs in the Kontinental Hockey League,” he said.

The tragedy brought sympathy and support from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is heading to Yaroslavl for an annual political forum.

His press secretary, Natalya Timakova, announced that the forum’s program would change and Medvedev would begin by visiting the scene of the disaster and holding an emergency meeting with senior transport officials.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s transport minister, Igor Levitin, to go straight to the crash site.

International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel said it was "the darkest day in the history of our sport".

“Despite the substantial air travel of professional hockey teams, our sport has been spared from tragic traffic accidents,” Fasel added. “But only until now. This is the darkest day in the history of our sport. This is not only a Russian tragedy, the Lokomotiv roster included players and coaches from ten nations.”

Fasel will arrive in Russia on Thursday in a pre-arranged visit, and told he would take the opportunity to mourn with the Russian hockey authorities.

The Russian Hockey Federation also published a message of sympathy on its website: “The FHR expresses its deepest condolences to the bereaved families and relatives, fans and the entire hockey community”.

Lokomotiv had been traveling to Minsk for its opening fixture against Dinamo, due to be played on Thursday evening.

A decision on whether to play Thursday’s other hockey games has not yet been taken. "

NOTE: The team picture of Jaroslavl Lokomotiv posted above was taken Aug. 21, 2011.


Video of the crash scene here:


NEW YORK (September 7, 2011) — Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the
National Hockey League, today released the following statement on the
tragedy involving the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club:

 "Though it occurred thousands of miles away from our home arenas,
this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world —
including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and
friends who at one time excelled in our League. Our deepest condolences go
to the families and loved ones of all who perished.”


Agent Ritch Winter interview with Jim Matheson of The Journal here:


Dmitry Chesnokov


Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Vintage Flame

    Add me to the list of shocked. This is so sad.

    Unsubstantitated reports are that the plane exceeded the on-board weight allowed resulting in the crash into a radar system on takeoff.

    • Vintage Flame

      I have a friend who is a pilot for Westjet. Just last week, he was explaining to me how the first 5 minutes of takeoff are the most dangerous and have the most potential for accident on a flight.. Just eerie.


    This is just unbelievable! How horrible for their families. I just cant fathom what they are going through and my eyes are tearing from just the thought of it. RIP to all those on board that perished.

  • O.C.

    Latest List from (translated)


    1.Аникеенко Виталий Сергеевич 1.Anikeenko Vitaly
    2.Бахвалов Юрий Алексеевич 2.Bahvalov Yuri
    3.Беляев Александр Владимирович 3.Belyaev Alexander
    4.Баландин Михаил Юрьевич 4.Balandin Mikhail
    5.Васюнов Александр Сергеевич 5.Vasyunov Alexander
    6.Вашичек Йозеф 6.Vashichek Joseph
    7.Вьюхин Александр Евгеньевич 7.Vyuhin Alexander E.
    8.Дитрих Роберт Генрихович 8.Ditrih Robert Genrikhovich
    9.Демитра Павол 9.Demitra Pavol
    10.Зимин Андрей Валерьевич 10.Zimin Andrey
    11.Калимулин Марат Натфуллович 11.Kalimulin Marat Natfullovich
    12.Карповцев Александр Георгиевич 12.Karpovtsev Alexander G.
    13.Калянин Александр Игоревич 13.Kalyanin Alexander I.
    14.Кирюхин Андрей Анатольевич 14.Kiryuhin Andrey
    15.Клюкин Никита Сергеевич 15.Klyukin Nikita
    16.Королев Игорь Борисович 16.Korolev Igor Borisovich
    17.Кривоносов Николай Иванович 17.Krivonosov Nikolai
    18.Куннов Евгений Геннадьевич 18.Kunnov Evgeny
    19.Кузнецов Вячеслав Михайлович 19.Kuznetsov Vyacheslav Mikhailovich
    20.Лив Стефан Даниэль Патрик 20.Liv Stephen Daniel Patrick
    21.Марек Ян Jan 21.Marek
    22.МакКриммон Брэд Байрон 22.MakKrimmon Brad Byron
    23.Остапчук Сергей Игоревич 23.Ostapchuk Sergey I.
    24.Пискунов Владимир Леонидович 24.Piskunov Vladimir Leonidovich
    25.Рахунек Карел 25.Rahunek Karel
    26.Сидоров Евгений Владимирович 26.Sidorov Evgeny
    27.Скрастиньш Карлис Мартинович 27.Skrastinsh Karlis Martinovic
    28.Снурницын Павел Сергеевич 28.Snurnitsyn Pavel
    29.Собченко Даниил Евгеньевич Daniel E. 29.Sobchenko
    30.Ткаченко Иван Леонидович 30.Tkachenko Ivan Leonidovich
    31.Траханов Павел Сергеевич 31.Trahanov Pavel
    32.Урычев Юрий Олегович Yuri O. 32.Urychev
    33.Чурилов Геннадий Станиславович 33.Churilov Gennady S.
    34.Шувалов Максим Алексеевич 34.Shuvalov Maxim A.
    35.Ярчук Артем Николаевич 35.Yarchuk Artem Nikolaevich

    Экипаж: Crew:

    36.Соломенцев Андрей анатольевич, командир 36.Solomentsev Andrey, Commander
    37.Живелов Игорь Константинович, 2-ой пилот 37.Zhivelov Igor Konstantinovich, second pilot
    38.Журавлев Сергей Васильевич, бортмеханих 38.Zhuravlev Sergey, bortmehanih
    39.Сарматова Елена Александровна, бортпроводник 39.Sarmatova Elena, flight attendant
    40.Максумова Надежда Мурзафаровна, бортпроводник 40.Maksumova Hope Murzafarovna, flight attendant
    41.Шавина Елена Михайловна, бортпроводник 41.Shavina Elena, flight attendant
    42.Матюшин Владимир Юрьевич, бортмеханик 42.Matyushin Vladimir Yurevich, flight engineer


    Сизов Александр Борисович, бортпроводник Sizov, Alexander B., flight attendant

    Галимов Александр Сергеевич (в больнице) Galimov Alexander (in hospital)

  • Little Buttcheeks

    Very, very sad story. Condolences go out to all of the players and their families.

    It’s terrible that it takes a tragedy like this to conjure up old memories but I got to thinking back about Brad McCrimmon and how much I hated him during his days in Calgary (and Philly, for that matter).

    McCrimmon was an excellent defensive defenceman – and tough … boy was he tough. Kind of dirty-tough (he was a bit of a stick-guy), like Craig Muni, but definitely a warrior.

    This has been an awful summer.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Seems hard to believe that an aircraft flying at half of the capacity could be too heavy. What a difficult yr its been for the NHL and it’s exended family. When it rains, it pours. Prayers for the lives that have been changed forever.

  • DJ Dynasty Handbag

    according to @SlavaMalamud – NA correspondent for Sports-Express

    “The crashed plane was forbidden to use the European Union airspace, deemed too unsafe by the European Air Safety Commission”

    what a complete and utter tragedy. RIP

  • everton fc

    A few more former NHLers…

    Alexander Karpotsev… Igor Korolev…

    Apparently Salei was on the plane…

    And Garmilov, the only player to survive, is burned over 90% of his body, including his respiratory system. He’s in a coma, and not expected to survive.

    What an incredible, sad tragedy. McCrimmon was also one of my faves…

    Keeping all players, crew and families in my prayers….

    • Vintage Flame

      “And Garmilov, the only player to survive, is burned over 90% of his body, including his respiratory system. He’s in a coma, and not expected to survive.”

      Apparently he died in surgery.. RIP.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    Unbelievable. We barely finishing mourning these tragedies by the time that another one pops up. My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of anybody who was on that plane.

  • smiliegirl15

    My cousin was friends with Brad McCrimmon and my brothers bought a swather from him long ago. He came from a very good family. What a tragic summer. Condolences to all.

  • D'oh-ilers

    Robin will the Nation post a condolence page? The NHL? Hard not to feel nothing for the lives lost. Whether a player or a fan this kind of tragedy is tough to swallow. Tough summer.

  • everton fc

    Absolutely horrible news. The hockey world is having a real rough summer. RIP to all the victims, and thoughts and prayers are with their friends and families. I can’t imagine being Alexander Galimov or the crew member who survived. Life will never be the same for them again.

  • O.C.

    Buddy Holly would be 75 today. Waylon Jennings decided to give up his seat on the plane, and Buddy took it.

    Buddy said, “I hope you freeze on your drive”, and Waylon shot back “Well, maybe your plane will crash”

    He is still haunted by that.

    American Pie is the song that mourns the loss of Holly, Valens, the Bopper…

    …”the day the music died”

    Don’t know why, but somehow, I felt it necessary to share that true story; perhaps its because today, this day, I feel is a day when a piece of the hockey world died.