Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was one of the KHL’s top teams. (Stanislav Krasilnikov/ITAR-TASS /Landov)
By Stu Hackel
The KHL season restarts today, but without Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. The team will not be reformed this season with new players in the wake of last Wednesday’s air disaster in which the entire roster perished. Instead, the newly created Lokomotiv will resume play next season.
That was the decision announced Saturday by Vladimir Yakunin, the head of Russian Railways, the team’s owner; Yuri Yakovlev, Lokomotiv team president; and Sergei Vakhrukov, the governor of the Yaroslav region, as reported by Sovietsky Sport on Sunday.
“We must show sensitivity and awareness,” said Yakunin.
“The whole world mourns with us,” added Yakovlev. “In these difficult times we must act correctly, observing all the universal values and those of the club. Our primary task is to take care of loved ones, families of the victims. That is conduct worthy of the guys who were on their last journey.”
The three officials addressed reporters briefly after the funeral for the players that was held at the club’s arena in Yaroslavl on Saturday. About 100,000 people, including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, gathered in and around the building to pay their respects to the team. “For the first time in my life, I had trouble entering an ice arena,” KHL chairman and former NHL star Slava Fetisov said. “It’s an inexplicable tragedy.”