Reports out of Russia today that a plane carrying the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv hockey team has crashed, killing at least 43 people. Reportedly on the plane were former Ranger defensemen Karel Rachunek and Alexander Karpovtsev, as well as former Ranger draft pick Jan Marek. The team were flying to Minsk, in Belarus for their KHL season opener and reportedly clipped a beacon tower shortly after takeoff, crashing around 500 metres from the runway.
Ranger center Artem Anisimov started his professional hockey career with Yaroslavl, and was shocked according to Steve Zipay of Newsday. Several Rangers knew players on the team, including Henrik Lundqvist who played opposite of Lokomotiv goaltender Stefan Liv in the Swedish Elite League, and Marian Gaborik, who lost close friend Pavol Demitra, just months after also losing another friend in Derek Boogaard. No word yet on what the KHL or Yaroslavl plan, but the KHL has tentatively indicated that the games will continue as scheduled tomorrow.