Former Wings McCrimmon, Salei among 43 dead in Russian plane crash
After a day of speculation, Russian officials are confirming the list of those who died in Wednesday’s tragic accident, which claimed the lives of 43 passengers – including the entire roster of the Lokomotiv Hockey Club of the KHL. There were only two survivors in the crash: a crew engineer and forward Alexander Galimov, both of whom remain in critical condition.
Many passengers aboard the plane have familiar names and ties to the NHL, including two who were with the Detroit Red Wings just last June. Both longtime NHL tough guy and coach Brad McCrimmon, who was on his way to his first game as head coach of Lokomotiv and Belarus National Team Captain, and former Red Wing Ruslan Salei are confirmed to be among the dead.
Current Red Wings had this to say about their former teammate and coach:
Coach Mike Babcock on Salei – “He’s a great guy. A family guy. He was a big part of our team here and a big part of our team out in Anaheim when we had good years there. His family meant a lot to him and I sent him home – I don’t know how many times – to see his family.”
On McCrimmon – “We know Brad’s kids well. He’s a good man and was a real big part of our organization,”
Captain Nick Lidstrom on Salei – “Rusty was a team player who played well for us.”
On McCrimmon – “He was my (defensive) partner my first year in the league over here and he was my roommate, too, so I got to know him real well. He helped me out a lot my first year over here and when he became an assistant coach for us I thought he brought a lot of valuable experience that helped us. I thought he was really good with the defense, especially the younger guys, and everyone learned a lot from him.”
Other notable players named in the fatal crash include: Pavol Demitra, Igor Korolev, Karlis Skrastins, Stefan Liv, Jan Marek, and Josef Vasicek. This tragedy did not only affect those in Russia and Hockeytown, but players and fans around the world. Those who passed touched the lives of many, and it is fair to consider this the most devastating event in hockey history.
We would like to extend our greatest sympathy to the family and friends of those who were lost. Our hearts go out to you in your time of sorrow.