Karlis Skrastins

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A Year Removed from Lokomotiv

A year ago, September 7, 2011, a YAK-42 airplane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all members of the team and coaching staff. The hockey world was shocked, and Rene Fasel, president of the IIHF, called it the darkest day in hockey history.

We were all rocked hard to our cores. Contracts meant nothing. We now knew that several players that we knew and loved had passed away in an instant. Pavol Demitra, Stefan Liv, Jan Marek, Karel Rachunek, Ruslan Salei, Karlis Skrastins, Josef Vasicek and Alexander Yasyunov were most known for their service in the NHL.

Brad McCrimmon, longtime NHL defenseman and new coach of Lokomotiv, died be...