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Lokomotiv Yaroslavl signs Niklas Hagman; crash victims memorial game includes Malkin, Datsyuk

Greg Wyshynski
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In roughly two months, the hockey world will mourn the one-year anniversary of the plane crash that killed Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's roster of players.

It's an event that shook our sport after what was already a tragic summer; a catastrophe that still resonates with fans around the world (if not ESPN).

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl returned to the ice three months later in a lower level of the KHL; it will come back as an active team in the League itself next season.

Joining their growing roster of players is a rather significant name: NHL veteran Niklas Hagman.

The Finnish forward has 770 NHL games under his belt since 2001, playing for the Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and most recently with the Anaheim Ducks. Despite resurrecting his career in Anaheim after a press box exile in Calgary, the Ducks opted not to bring him back.

Now he's in the KHL. From RIA Novosti on Lokomotiv's resurgence:

Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Staffan Kronwall joined a two-year contract in May, while in April Lokomotiv announced it had signed coach Tom Rowe, a former Carolina Hurricanes assistant coach.

A Lokomotiv spokesperson confirmed the signing of a contract with 33-year-old forward Hagman to RIA Novosti, but shed no light on its duration.

The KHL team earlier signed former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Sami Lepisto and former NHL veteran goalie Curtis Sanford. Former Washington Capitals forward Viktor Kozlov signed with the team in May.

Meanwhile, the Kloten Flyers of Switzerland are holding a memorial night game in honor of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash victims — featuring some huge NHL names.

From RIA Novosti:

Swiss hockey team the Kloten Flyers are to hold a game in memory of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air crash victims. Stars such as Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Valery Kamensky are to take part in Memory Night, an event set for August 4 in the town of Kloten, just north of Zurich, the team said on its website Wednesday.

Reader Andreas Reiner writes in:

I could hardly believe it when I saw it but my favourite swiss Team, the Kloten Flyers (Loser to HC Davos in this years Finals) will play a friendly the beginning of this August against a Russian super army, containing of:

Ilya Bryzgalov
Vladimir Myshkin
Sergei Gonchar
Evgeni Malkin
Alexander Semin
Pavel Datsyuk
Zdeno Chara
Valery Kamenski
Vladimir Malakhov
Alexander Mogilny
Alexei Kasatonov
Ilya Kovalchuk
Darius Kasparaitis
Alexei Kovalev
Aleksei Yashin
Sergey Fedorov
Sandis Ozolinsh
Ilya Nikulin
Artem Anisimov
Andrei Kovalenko

(OK, Chara and Ozolinsh aren't exactly Russian)

It's probably the first and last time I'll see a group of such caliber playing on home ice! Not quite sure how the pulled that one off but it's frickin awesome!

We'll offer more details on the game, including any TV coverage, as we learn them.

s/t Kukla

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