Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Cross Checks [Print without images]

Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Reaction to Lokomotiv plane crash

By ESPN.com

Reactions from around the hockey world after Wednesday's plane crash in Russia:

KHL statement:

"We are only beginning to understand the impact of this tragedy affecting the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl club and the international hockey community. First and foremost, our condolences go out to the families and friends of the players, coaches and staff lost in today's tragedy.

"We know that there are many in the KHL family who will be grieving with us. As the investigation of this tragedy progresses we will work closely with investigators, government officials, club executives and the Yaroslavl community. We are working to find an appropriate way to honor this club and begin the healing process from the deep loss so many of us feel today.

"We are aware that many of you have questions. This tragedy remains our primary focus. We ask for patience as we find an appropriate way to proceed with the 2011/2012 season. We will continue to communicate our plans as they take shape."

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman:

"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."

Pavol Demitra's agent Matt Keator to ESPN.com:

On Demitra: "You couldn't find a more popular teammate. It's just that people were drawn to him."

On the team: "There was a lot of energy around those guys. There was a lot of excitement around the team. They thought they could win a championship.

"It was a very, very good team. It's just stunning and just awful."

Former NHL and KHL coach Barry Smith to ESPN.com:

"Before Brad McCrimmon went over, he came to see me to ask about what to expect. I mentioned to him how difficult travel was because of all the time zones. Brad was really excited about the opportunity to be a head coach. It's really sad.

"Concerning my Russian experience, I never felt unsafe or threatened while working in St. Petersburg. The travel was very difficult and the time zone changes [seven time zones] were a nightmare. The airplane I flew for three seasons was the same one which crashed. The pilots we had were amazing, we landed on every kind of tarmac there was.

"Everyone is tremendously saddened by today's crash and we send our prayers and condolences to all the families."

Red Wings GM Ken Holland to ESPN.com:

"It's shocking. I think everybody in the hockey community is probably in shock and numb, myself included. I've known Brad [McCrimmon] going back to the late 80s when we acquired him here. He was a real popular player. Then we had him as an assistant coach here. He loved hockey. He was a tremendous guy and wonderful family man. Our thoughts and prayers go to his wife Maureen and two children.

"Our thoughts and prayers go to everybody who had family on that plane. This affects the entire hockey community. It's a real sad day for the hockey world."

IIHF President René Fasel:

"This is a terrible tragedy for the global ice hockey community with some many nationalities involved. Our thoughts and prayers are with family and friends of the victims.

"Despite the substantial air travel of professional hockey teams, our sport has been spared from tragic traffic accidents. 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."

Keith Tkachuk:

"I am beyond devastated by the tragic news involving my good friends Brad and Pavol and the rest of their teammates in Russia. Brad was my teammate in Phoenix and later coached me in Atlanta and was truly a wonderful man who will be greatly missed. Pav was like a brother to me and I cannot believe that he is no longer with us. This is a terrible day for the hockey fraternity. My family's thoughts and prayers are with their families during this difficult time."

NHLPA statement:

"Everyone within the NHLPA family is deeply saddened by the tragic passing today of players, coaches and staff from the KHL hockey club, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. The club included many former NHLPA members, as well as many members of the international hockey community. Words cannot express the profound sorrow that this loss has created. Our sincere condolences go out to the friends and families who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy."

Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk:

"The Dallas Stars family is shocked and saddened by the passing of Karlis Skrastins and so many other young lives in a plane crash in Russia today. Our thoughts and prayers are with Karlis' wife Zane and his two daughters, Karolina and Laurena, as well as all of the families and friends who lost loved ones on the plane. Karlis was a wonderful father and husband, as well as a good friend. He will be greatly missed."

Devils President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello:

"Nothing could prepare the hockey community for the devastating news it received today. The tragic plane crash involving Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League has left all of us beyond words.

"I had the pleasure of knowing several members of the team, plus the entire coaching staff. In particular, Alexander Vasyunov, who played for us last season, was an outstanding young man and a gifted athlete. Captain Karel Rachunek skated for us in 2007-08. Both were members of the Devils family.

"On behalf of the entire Devils organization, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the entire Lokomotiv club."

San Jose Sharks statement:

"We are very saddened to report that the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has published a list stating that Sharks prospect Daniil Sobchenko was aboard the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane that crashed today in Yaroslavl, Russia. Daniil attended our development camp this past July and everyone on our staff agreed that he had a bright future with our organization. He was an amazing person with a fun-loving personality and his attitude and energy during his time in San Jose was infectious. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.

"This is a difficult day for the hockey world. Many people in our organization had existing relationships with other Lokomotiv players, coaches and staff members. We send our sincere condolences to their families as well."

Chicago Blackhawks statement:

"We stand together with the entire KHL, NHL and hockey world in mourning today's tragic news concerning the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team. The tragedy effects the Chicago Blackhawks family directly as we mourn the losses of Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev, two players who spent time with our organization and that our fans know well. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl organization."

Los Angeles Kings statement:

"The Los Angeles Kings organization is deeply saddened with the tragic news of this morning's plane crash in Russia that was carrying the members of the KHL's Lokomotiv organization, including former Kings forward Pavol Demitra, former Kings prospect Jan Marek and many other members of the NHL Family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends of those affected by this terrible occurrence."

Colorado Avalanche statements:

President Pierre Lacroix: "The entire Colorado Avalanche organization is deeply saddened by this morning's horrific news regarding the Kontinental Hockey League's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

"Moreover, we are all in a state of shock regarding the deaths of former Avalanche defensemen Karlis Skrastins and Ruslan Salei. Our thoughts and prayers go out their families as well as those involved in this devastating incident."

Executive Advisor/Alternate Governor Joe Sakic: "I am still in disbelief about today's tragic news. Both Karlis and Ruslan were unbelievable individuals and great teammates. They will be sorely missed. My condolences go out to their families and all those affected in this tragedy."

St. Louis Blues president John Davidson:

"On behalf of the St. Louis Blues, we are deeply saddened by the tragedy that took place today in Russia involving the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club. The entire hockey community has been affected by this news and our most heart-felt condolences go out to the families of those who perished.

"The St. Louis Blues have lost two members of our family, Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families as well. Pavol and Igor were both incredibly passionate and dedicated players and their influence in St. Louis was not only felt on the ice, but throughout the community."

Anaheim Ducks statement:

"The Anaheim Ducks organization is shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Ruslan Salei. 'Rusty' was a fan favorite and dedicated member of the Orange County community since being drafted by Anaheim in 1996. Our thoughts and prayers go to his wife and three children, along with all of the other members of the hockey community affected by this horrible tragedy."

NHL players react on Twitter:


"Way too many players and families affected with tragic events this summer. Thoughts and prayers go out to this KHL team and their families." -- @martybiron43

"It's a sad day." - Nicklas Lidstrom via @DetroitRedWings

"I'm in shock!!!!!R.I.P ...." -- @ovi8

"Very difficult to lose close friends. May they rest in peace. You will always be remembered." -- @ovi8 tweeted in Russian. Translation by @SergeyKocharov

"Thoughts and prayers to the KHL team and their families. I'm in shock." --@Max25talbot

"I can't believe I'm writing another one. Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by the KHL plane crash. Too many players gone this year." -- @b_ryan9

"Devastating News. Plane Crash in Russia had some of my great NHL buddies on it. Sad." -- @Jeremy_Roenick

"Hearing the tragic news about the Russian plane crash almost brought me to my knees.. So so sad and unfair." -- @ryaneclowe29

"The hockey world mourns yet again. Please God, we can't take much more.Thoughts and prayers in Russia and to all friends and family." -- @BrandonPrust8

"Another sad day in the hockey world. Thoughts and prayers to those affected by today's tragic plane crash." -- @Sullivan26

"Tough to write this one.Thoughts and prayers to families and friends of players lost.Former teammate Joe Vasicek and others-RIP." -- @aaronward_nhl

"Heartbreaking summer for hockey. Thoughts to everyone affected by these terrible, sad events." -- @Logancouture