Hockey Team Dies In Russian Plane Crash - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Hockey Team Dies In Russian Plane Crash

Photo From MSN Photo From MSN

TUNOSHNA, Russia - Russia and its hockey fans have been stunned by the crash of a jet carrying one of the country's top teams.

The private jet slammed into a riverbank moments after takeoff, killing at least 43 people. The weather was sunny and clear at the time, but Russian media reports say the plane struggled to gain altitude then hit a signal tower.

Two people on board, one a crew member and the other a player, survived but are described as being in "grave" condition.  The plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team from
Yaroslav to Minsk, for the opening game of the Kontinental Hockey League season. The team finished third in the league last season and had a number of international stars and former NHL players on its roster, including Slovakian national team captain Pavol Demitra
(PAH'-vuhl deh-MEE'-truh) and head coach Brad McCrimmon.

Emergency officials listed former NHL players Josef Vasicek (VAH'-sih-chek), Karel Rachunek (rah-KOO'-nehk), Karlis Skrastins and Ruslan Salei (ROO'-slahn suh-LAY') among the dead, along with Swedish goalie Stefan Liv.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman calls the crash "a catastrophic loss to the hockey world." More than 2,000 fans gathered outside the team's arenao pay their respects.

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