September 21, 2011
The world is still dealing with the aftermath of the plane crash that took the lives of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl players and coaches on Sept. 7. We're still learning how many families, friends, teammates and fans are dealing with their losses.
Ivan Tkachenko was the captain of the team; drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2002 but having played in Russia for 12 seasons, including 10 with Lokomotiv. He was respected on the ice as a leader … but until recently, no one was aware of his incredible work away from the rink — because he intentionally kept his name out of it.
According to Russia Today (via Lifenews), Tkachenko was anonymously donating large sums of money to sick children in Voronezh, and "the last half-million ruble payment was transferred to a young cancer patient minutes before the take-off."
As if this plane crash story simply couldn't get any more heartbreaking …
Via Russia Today, Tkachenko was sending money to 16-year-old Diana Ibragimova:
Ivan transferred money to Diana's family twice, and both times he asked that his name not be indicated under any circumstances.
"We did not even know who our daughter's benefactor was, just his first name," cried Elena, Diana's mother. "We received 500,000-ruble transfers twice; they both came from an unknown Ivan. I thought he might be a successful businessman and could not imagine he was one of the best-known Russian hockey players. Such a young man!" exclaims Elena.
After the family received the second transfer, they wrote a letter to Ivan, but they never received an answer.
Puck Daddy's Dmitry Chesnokov added a little context:
Tkachenko used only his first name and his patronymic to make donations. He donated to a lot of charities. Because he kept his gifts anonymous, it is difficult to estimate how much he donated, although the person who first reported the story said that his donations would be the "envy of oligarchs."
A lot of people in Russia, including players, donate quietly, because of the culture of not, talking about it as to not "show off."
We'd argue that's part of hockey culture too, for the most part.
For every public display of charity — i.e. Twitter followers-to-dollars requests — there are countless players who donate money or time without publicity. Tkachenko was one of them; and it appears he made quiet a difference before tragedy claimed him and his teammates.