Next Friday (Sept. 7) marks the one-year anniversary of the Russian plane crash that killed 44 of the 45 people on board — including the players and coaching staff of the KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
Among the former NHL players we lost: Defenseman Ruslan Salei, who played from 1996-2011 with the Anaheim Ducks (formerly Mighty Ducks of Anaheim), Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings.
The former captain of the Belarus national team was remembered last weekend in Minsk at the first Ruslan Salei Memorial Tournament. Part of that remembrance was one of the most beautiful tributes we've ever seen inside an arena.
Here is Ruslan Salei's life and career celebrated in sand art, as seen on the Jumbotron at the start of his namesake tournament. You may want to keep the hankies handy.
Wow. No words.
One can only imagine how his wife and children felt watching that amazing work, bringing Rusty back in some small way before the tournament in his honor.
His son, by the way, dropped the ceremonial first puck at the tournament:
The Salei tournament team representing Vityaz Chekhov of the KHL. (Yes, that Vityaz Chekhov.)
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- Ruslan Salei
- Anaheim Ducks
- Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
- Detroit Red Wings
- Colorado Avalanche