Lokomotiv Suffers Enormous Loss, A Good Vasicek Memory

News out of Russia this morning brings more heartbreak to the NHL during a time of remembrance for players lost here in North America.

A chartered plane for the KHL’s Lokomotiv hockey team has crashed, allegedly killing a majority of the clubs roster.

Per the AP story:

TUNOSHNA, Russia (AP)—A Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashed into a river bank Wednesday while taking off in western Russia, killing at least 43 people and leaving two others critically injured, officials said.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed in sunny weather immediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow.

It said the plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team from Yaroslavl to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursday against Dinamo Minsk in the opening game of the season of the Kontinental Hockey League. The ministry was carrying 45 people, including 37 passengers and eight crew, and two people survived the crash.

There were quite a few NHL names among them: Defensemen Karel Rachunek, Ruslan Salei and Karlis Skrastins, as well as forwards Pavol Demitra and Josef Vasicek  all spent a good deal of time in the NHL and were listed on the most current roster on the KHL website. Forward Alexander Vasyunov played in 18 games with the New Jersey Devils this past season.

Josef Vasicek played for the Islanders for 81 games in 2007, scoring 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points. He signed with Lokomotiv in 2008 where he’s played since. Note: It is unknown at this time of Vasicek was on board the downed jetliner at this time. He is on the roster however.

Here is a video made by Two Man Advantage during the Islanders 2007 training camp, as a good tribute to Vasicek’s character.

Vasicek wasn’t the only player, or ex-player with ties to the Islanders organization. Lokomotiv’s head coach Brad McCrimmon was an Assistant Coach on the team from 97-99.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in this tragedy, the Hockey World mourns the loss of some of our brothers.

Michael Schuerlein


  1. Vasicek was called “The Condor” here in Carolina. RIP to a great guy. He will be missed.

    • I had the pleasure of interviewing him a few times that season, he was a nice guy.

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