There have been few disasters in the history of sport on a par with today’s plane crash in Russia that claimed the lives of 36 ice hockey players and officials.
It is a shocking waste of life that will go down as one of the world’s worst sporting tragedies.
The plane was carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team to Minsk for a match on Thursday when it crashed on take-off killing 43 people. Described as an “irreparable loss” by the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, the dead include 27 players, two coaches and seven club officials.
The horrific death toll included members of the Russian national team and 11 foreigners, including players from the Czech Republic, Belarus, Sweden, Latvia, Slovakia and Canada.
The International Ice Hockey Federation was left stunned by the deaths of so many international stars in one catastrophic event. There were 45 people on board – 37 passengers and eight crew – and according to the BBC the victims include:
Brad McCrimmon – Age 52, from Canada. A former Detroit Red Wings assistant who took over as Lokomotiv head coach in May. Played in 1,222 NHL games between 1979-97, compiling 81 goals and 322 assists.
Pavol Demitra – Age 36, from Slovakia. A three-time NHL All-Star who helped Slovakia win a world championship bronze medal in 2003. Scored 304 goals in 847 NHL games. Three-time Olympian.
Ruslan Salei – Age 36, from Belarus. A defenceman who played in 917 NHL games, totaling 45 goals and 149 assists for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche, and Detroit Red Wings.
Stefan Liv – Age 30, from Sweden. A veteran goalkeeper who won Olympic gold with Sweden as a backup in 2006.
Karlis Skrastins – Age 37, from Latvia. A defenceman who played in 832 NHL games, mainly for the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche.
Josef Vasicek – Age 30, from Czech Republic. A Czech forward who spent most of his NHL career with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Karel Rachunek – Age 32, from Czech Republic. Played 371 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, and won a world championship title with the Czech Republic in 2010.
Yak-42 jet crashed on take off at Yaroslavl airport about 300km north east of Moscow