Tragedy in Russia: A Sad Day for Hockey


What more can be said and/or written about the disaster in Russia – a plane crash that left 43 dead  – that hasn’t been already? An entire professional hockey team, Lokomotiv of the KHL, is gone. The shock and sadness from around the hockey world are palpable.

It’s taken me a while to gather my thoughts. The first thing that struck me was the familiar names, the ex-NHLers. You know them by now: Pavol Demitra, Brad McCrimmon, Ruslan Salei, Karlis Skrastins. I watched them play, giving me the most minor of connections to some of the deceased. Then I wondered, “How in the hell could something like this happen in 2011?” After learning of the sad state of Russia’s airlines, I at least have an idea. Then…well, you think of the families. The kids that will never see their fathers again; the wives that have to mourn their husbands; the parents that have to bury their sons way too soon. As a husband, father and son, it’s all quite depressing.

This was the biggest sports-related tragedy of my lifetime. Even though it happened in Russia, to a Russian team, the numerous ties to the NHL made it hit closer to home than maybe it should have. Life goes on, but this catastrophe will go down in history. The legendary Badger Bob Johnson coined the famous phrase, “It’s a great day for hockey.” Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. This was a devastatingly sad day for the game.