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Plane crash claims KHL club: 'The team is gone'

Apologies if I missed the thread about this tragic event, with the amount of flying athletic teams do something like this is bound to happen.  I know this particular event has hit Slovakia very hard, seems hockey is tied closely with their national identity.

A doomed Russian charter carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team overshot the end of a runway before the plane took off and crashed into a radio mast Wednesday, killing nearly everyone on board.

Among the dead were several former NHL players, including the teamís Canadian head coach, Brad McCrimmon, who was also a former assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings.

sad to see.

Demitra's funeral was yesterday. As long-serving veteran captain, who had just finished this year's World Championships and retired to a huge home-crowd fanfare, the crash has been felt across whole of Slovakia.

I would say its similar to Lady Di's accident, the impact to everyone here. He's going to be immortal anyway ... scoring the winning goal in the Olympic final vs. Russia saw to that.

All the Slovak players were allowed to come (from NHL) to the funeral in Trencin yesterday, and pay respects, some long faces, but ultimately inspiring words, as they remembered not only their sporting achievements, but an awesome person and a role model to a nation.

This wasn't just an ordinary funeral, but televised mourning and appreciation event, held in the Trencin hockey stadium with a packed crowd, all getting †a chance to pay their respects, from the Slovak national Team, to Dukla Trencin (former club) members, and their youth teams... to general members of Trencin public and probably more...

Demitra has just been on the Slovak equivalent of Jimmy Saville's Jimmy Fix It... with the screening post-humous, the impact of how he treated the crippled kid, was even more emotional/heart felt. They filmed it just days before the crash. On the summary show, the kid couldn't hold it together. Was such a mess. A stark sense of reality across the nation.

Not much more to say. We lost a hero. A true hero.

on topic, but off topic...

They reported that the pilot had 400km experience, and the co-pilot just 80km!
Slapshot 3

It was a sad day for the sport, it lost some exceptional hockey players and a great coach. Demitra was exceptional and I was surprised he headed for the KHL there had to be a contract in the NHL for him somewhere, similarly Ruslan Salei, still had lots to offer.

Brad coached a couple of hockey schools in the UK a good few years ago one of which I had the pleasure to be involved, really nice bloke and nothing was too much trouble. Him and another ex NHLer Bob Sullivan were involved with that one you reaslie very quickly how special these guys are.

Like I say, truly sad day for Hockey.

From the print edition of the "Detroit Sunday Free Press," dated
Sunday, 18th September 2011:


'Brad's going to be with us all year'

Babcock, Lidstrom remember friend

By Anthony Fenech (Free Press Sports Writer)

Brad McCrimmon loved to tell stories.

"He would always come to the back of the bus or plane after a game,
and he always had a story to tell," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom
said. "I have some fun memories of a lot of different stories."

Saturday afternoon, the final chapter of McCrimmon's story was told
at a funeral service inside Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in

"Just to watch his family and listen to the service today and understand
how much he cared for his family, to me, I think obviously gives him
great comfort," Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

Lidstrom, Babcock, the entire Wings team -- including owner Mike
Ilitch -- Wings great Steve Yzerman and former coach Scotty Bowman
were among the mourners at McCrimmon's funeral, which concluded
with bagpipes playhing as the hearse drove away.

McCrimmon, 52, a Wings assistant for the past three years, died Sept.
7 when a plane crash killed the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club
of the Kontinental Hockey League.

McCrimmon, who was an NHL assistant coach for 12 years, was hired
as the Lokomotiv coach in May.

"He wanted to leave to be a head coach," Babcock said. "He was
feeling great about himself and his opportunity, and that was his way
to be a head coach in the NHL, so obviously it was very important
to him."

McCrimmon was Lidstrom's defensive partner during Lidstrom's rookie

"He helped me out a lot," Lidstrom said. "He was my mentor and took
me under his wing off the ice, and he was very helpful in getting my
career started over here."

On the ice, McCrimmon played for six teams over an 18-year career,
winning a Stanley Cup in 1989 with the Calgary Flames and earning
the nickname "Beast" for his gruff persona. He stands 10th all-time in
plus/minus with a plus-444.

Off the ice, players and coaches saw through that persona.

"As gruff of an exterior as he had, he was a teddy bear on the inside,"
Babcock said. "When I think of Brad McCrimmon, I think of a man who
had a love affair with his Dad, his brother, his son and obviously his
wife and his daughter."

McCrimmon is survived by his wife, Maureen, daughter Carlin and son

"He had a gentler side to him as well," Lidstrom said. "And I think as
players, we saw that as an assistant coach. He loved coming into the
locker room before practices and games, just kind of mingling with
guys and saying a few words to each guy and keeping everybody at

Babcock said the Wings plan to honor McCrimmon during the
upcoming season, but details hadn't been decided.

"Brad's going to be with us all year," he said. "No question."

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