Hockey world shocked by air crash tragedy

Wed Sep 7, 2011 7:54pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - The world of ice hockey was in shock and grief after suffering its "darkest day" when a plane carrying the Russian team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crashed on Wednesday, killing 43 people and leaving just two survivors.

"This is a terrible tragedy for the global ice hockey community with so many nationalities involved," International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel said in a statement posted on the federation website

"Our thoughts and prayers are with family and friends of the victims."

The plane was taking members of the Continental Hockey League (KHL) team to a game in the Belarussian capital Minsk when it crashed a few kilometers from the airport at Tunoshna outside Yaroslavl, 150 miles north of Moscow.

Russia's Emergencies Ministry said two people had survived and were in a grave condition.

One of the survivors was Lokomotiv offenseman Alexander Galimov, who hospital doctors said was in a critical condition with burns over 90 percent of his body. The other survivor, a crew member, was also in critical condition.

Lokomotiv's squad includes players and coaches from several countries -- among them Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Germany and Canada.

"Despite the substantial air travel of professional hockey teams, our sport has been spared from tragic traffic accidents," Fasel said. "But only until now. This is the darkest day in the history of our sport. This is not only a Russian tragedy."   Continued...