By Stu Hackel
They had bright hopes for a new season. They rolled down the runway, taking off for their opening game, which was to be played the next evening in Minsk. The entire playing roster, plus four members of the youth team as well as the coaching and training staffs were on board, as was a crew of eight. Their plane ran off the runway before takeoff, didn’t gain much altitude, hit a signal tower and fell into the Volga River just over a mile from the Tunoshna Airport. All but one person, a flight attendant, were killed.
Friday marks the first anniversary of the worst tragedy ever to hit the hockey world, the Yaroslavl plane crash in which 37 members of the Lokomotiv KHL team perished . A silent march through the streets of Yaroslavl, a true hockey town long devoted to the club, will mark the occasion. But Thursday, the re-formed Lokomotiv team returns to playing its KHL season opener, visiting Sibir Novosibirsk.
UPDATE: With three second period goals, Lokomotiv defeated Sibir 5-2. More details below.