September 12, 2011
The plane crash last week that killed everyone on the roster and coaching staff of the KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl sparked mourning worldwide for the family, friends and hockey heroes that were lost in the tragedy.
(Ed. Note: Sadly, it did kill everyone. Alexander Galimov, the lone player who survived the crash, succumbed to his injuries and died Monday.)
In North America, special attention was paid to the players who had competed in the National Hockey League. Stefan Liv was a player drafted by the Detroit Red Wings but better known for his exploits in Sweden, where he was Player of the Year in the Elitserien for 2007-08.
As you can see from the image above, the tributes for Liv back home were considerable. Puck Daddy reader Lina sent over this link from Swedish media and wrote:
Several thousands of people that gathered to say goodbye to their beloved goalie and friend. At page 2 and 3 you can see Stefans two children laying down a red rose each — the most touching moment is when the youngest son pointed with the rose at the big picture and shouted "Daddy!" I think everyone burst into tears at that moment.
We lack the words to convey how heartbreaking that sounds.
Coming up, tributes to the players lost in the crash that span from New Jersey to Miami to Prague to Yaroslavl.
First, from Russia:
Here is Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin laying flowers during a memorial ceremony for the victims of the Russian plane crash in the Arena in Yaroslavl on Saturday. From the AP:
An estimated 100,000 people flocked to a memorial ceremony Saturday in the western city of Yaroslavl for the victims of the Russian plane crash that devastated a top ice hockey team.
"For the first time in my life, I had trouble entering an ice arena," Vyacheslav Fetisov, a former NHL star who is chairman of the Kontinental Hockey League, said at the ceremony. "It's an inexplicable tragedy."
The service was also attended by several KHL teams.
From Omsk, reader Paul Brecheisen writes in:
I am an American living in Omsk, Russia. My sons play hockey here so we are connected to the hockey world. Many are in shock and in mourning.
On Thursday evening a game was planned between Avangard Omsk and Siber Novosibirsk. Obviously the game was canceled. The Novosibirsk fans still made the trip to Omsk and gathered with Omsk fans in front of Arena Omsk where they made a memorial to Lokomotiv. They left flowers, candles, photos, jerseys, etc. You can see photos here. Afterwards the fans went to an Orthodox church together.
Tragedy brings us together, no matter the sweater.
Via Puck Daddy reader Hannah come these images from Prague, as she writes:
I saw that Puck Daddy said to send in any images from the memorials from the plane crash, attached are 10 photos I managed to take of the memorial. I happened to be in Prague today, Sept. 9th on an opening tour before my semester abroad. I had found out about the tragedy yesterday on Twitter after being away from the internet and was floored.
My tour of Prague today ended at Old Town Square where a memorial was set up for the 3 Czech players Jan Marek, Karel Rachunek and Josef Vasiceks. It was overwhelming to see the amount of candles. The table which is seen is where people were signing what I believe was a condolence book. You can see hockey sticks and Czech Republic team jerseys and scarves included at the memorial. The reason one of the pictures was missing in a couple of the photos was because black ribbons were being put on them.
The candles must have looked incredible in the evening hours.
Here's a tribute video produced by the Carolina Hurricanes for Josef Vasicek (via Christine H).
This image is from Dennis Bannon, who writes:
Richmond Virginia youth and men's hockey share in the loss of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. The attached photos were a small form of tribute to the team and its fans. The Richmond Generals Junior team held a small tribute to the team and one player skated in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl jersey. A group of over 35 men's hockey players who go by the name of "Grumpy Old Men Hockey" held their regular Thursday night session, held a moment of silence for the team and stopped to take a photo with jerseys of the team.
Any other local teams honor the victims? Put'em in the comments.
Even in the virtual world there were tributes. From reader Luke Ange:
Hockey truly is the greatest game on earth. I think in this time of tragedy we are really seeing why. The hockey community across the entire world is in mourning, not just these players friends and family. Anyone who has played or followed the game before shares a bond with these guys because we all share a love of the game. I've been running a small fantasy hockey site for 3 years now. Only about 15 members all said and done. We decided to make a new banner for our page to honor all we have lost this summer. I'm not asking you to repost this banner or link to my site. But everyone should know that even in the smallest of hockey communities, our thoughts and prayers are for the memories of these players and their families.
Indeed, and well done.
Via reader Steve come these images from a New Jersey Devils fan tribute to the victims held near The Rock in Newark. Another reader, Nick, gave us the lowdown:
The memorial lasted for several hours and those of us who attended were told the Devils plan to move all of the items that were left to a location inside the Prudential Center where fans will be able to see all season long. A man who was close friends with Karel Rachunek actually traveled from Czech to pay his respects, and plans on sharing photos taken with Rachunek's wife when he arrives back home. It really was a nice thing done by those of us Devils fans involved and was truly great to see so many people think with their hearts and pay their respects for those who unfortunately lost their lives.
Thanks to all who sent in their tributes. Email us at email@example.com if there are more to highlight.