Tag: obituaries


Hockey coach charged with fondling teen dies in jail cell


An ugly story took a sad end on Friday. Ukrainian hockey coach Ivan Pravilov was found dead in a jail cell according to The Associated Press.

Officials believe that Pravilov committed suicide, although an official autopsy hasn’t been conducted yet. The hockey coach and trainer was arrested in January for allegedly having sexual contact with a teenage hockey player.* Pravilov reportedly pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Pravilov coached several NHL and college hockey players, including New Jersey Devils center Dainius Zubrus. The Associated Press reports that former hockey player Maxim Starchenko described him as “physically, mentally and sexually abusive” in a book.

Pravilov was 49 years old.

* – The official charge seems to be “traveling for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct and transporting a person to engage in criminal sexual activity.”

(Image via NBCPhiladelphia.com)

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash survivor Alexander Galimov dies in Moscow hospital

Alexander Galimov, Liro Tarkki

The Vishnevsky Institute of Surgery announced that Alexander Galimov died at a Moscow hospital on Monday, Sept. 12. The International Ice Hockey Federation confirmed the sad news as many in the hockey world hoped that he might beat the odds and survive that terrible event. He was 26 years old.

Galimov was one of two initial survivors of the horrific plane crash that decimated the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl on September 7. Galimov had been the only player who survived the crash, with Alexander Sizov being the one crew member who is still alive. Sizov is currently listed in “serious but stable” condition.

Galimov suffered burns to at least 80 percent of his body from the crash. Galimov and Sizov were transported to a Moscow hospital on September 8, where Galimov entered a medically-induced coma. It was revealed that Galimov died during surgery early on Monday. The total number of deaths related to that tragedy is now at 44 people.

“On September 12, in the morning, despite continuting therapy using all possible contemporary treatment, Alexander Galimov died from severe burns in the burn center of the Vishnevsky Institute of Surgery,” the statement said.

Galimov’s hockey career at a glance

Galimov played parts of seven seasons for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, including seasons before they joined the KHL. Galimov played 341 games overall for the team, scoring 126 points and compiling 280 penalty minutes.

During the last two seasons, Galimov’s playoff performances were significantly better than his regular season outputs. He scored 25 points in 52 regular season games in 2009-10, yet he scored 14 points in 16 playoff games. He maintained a similar pattern last season, scoring 31 points in 53 regular season games before scoring 14 points in 18 postseason contests. Galimov won a silver medal with Russian’s under-20 team at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championships.


Cam Charron points out a heartbreaking fact: Galimov scored Lokomotiv’s last goal. The hockey world was holding out hope that he would find a way to pull through that tragedy, but now our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Looking back at the legacies of the victims of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl tragedy

Slovakia v Germany: Group A - 2011 IIHF World Championship

September 7, 2011 will go down as one of the darkest days in hockey history, as at least 43 people died in a horrific plane crash on Wednesday. As you probably know by know, the KHL team Lokomotiv suffered most of the losses. While PHT took a look at how the NHL reacted to the stunning news and how people hope to eventually move on from the tragedy, it seems like a good time to look back on the lives of some of the victims.

(For a full list of the players and team members who were believed to be on board, click here.)

Brad McCrimmon (52 years old): McCrimmon was a former assistant coach with the Red Wings who hoped to advance his coaching career by becoming Lokomotiv’s bench boss in May. He had a distinguished NHL career in which he finished with a +444 rating as a defenseman. (You can read more about his career and life in this story at CSNPhilly.com.) Craig Custance provided these heartfelt words about McCrimmon.

McCrimmon connected with everyone — children, teammates, fans, media. He was an incredible father to his two children and was loved by those he played with — and those who played for him. He was ready to take on his latest challenge in life, and it was easy to see it resulting in a future offer for an NHL job. Mostly because he didn’t just talk of things he learned on the farm — trust, respect, discipline, accountability and sacrifice. He lived it. Just not nearly long enough.

Pavol Demitra (36): Demitra was a three-time All-Star during an NHL career that spanned 16 seasons. Injuries were often a problem for the very skilled Slovakian, but he showed how much of an impact he could make in the 2010 Olympics, scoring 10 points in just seven games to become the tournament’s leading scorer. Michael Russo caught up with Demitra’s agent, who provided this heartbreaking quote.

I just got off the phone with agent Matt Keator, who was with Demitra in Riga, Latvia, three weeks ago and confirmed to me that Demitra sadly was killed: “I just want everybody to know what kind of infectious energy he has, what a wonderful person he was. People were drawn to Demo.”

source: APRuslan Salei (36): Just as recently as last season, Salei was an NHL defenseman with the Detroit Red Wings. The rugged defensemen played 917 regular season games in his NHL career, but many will remember him for his off-beat sense of humor, including his strange craving for a drink that was “half-Pepsi, half-beer.”

Karlis Skrastins (37): The stay-at-home defenseman earned an “Ironman” streak by playing 487 consecutive games, but former PHT editor Brandon Worley remembers him as a warm and inviting person off the ice.

I had the pleasure of meeting Karlis Skrastins last fall. Like many NHL players he was more than willing to stop and chat. I walked away amazed at how humble he was and how quick to smile he was while chatting with me, a genuinely nice guy whose enthusiasm for hockey was infectious. His teammates felt the same way and everyone will remember Karlis as a man who made an impact on their lives just from having known him, how his quiet intensity drove him every night on the ice and his work ethic drove him off it.

Josef Vasicek (30): The Czech-born forward played for the New York Islanders, Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes before moving on to the KHL. His best memories from his seven NHL seasons probably came during the 2006 playoffs when he won a Stanley Cup with Carolina.

Karel Rachunek (32): The former Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils defenseman has been affiliated with Lokomotiv even before the team became a member of the KHL. He was the team’s captain.

Alexander Karpovtsev (41) and Igor Korolev (41): Two former Chicago Blackhawks who served as assistant coaches were also victims of the crash.


Since we couldn’t cover every player and coach who was a victim of this awful accident, here’s a video tribute to the team that hopefully does everyone justice. (H/T to The Royal Half.)

(Various sources were helpful in putting together this post, including these bios from The Associated Press.)

NHL players, Gary Bettman react to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s ‘catastrophic loss’

Russia Crash
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The hockey world was shaken to its core once again Wednesday morning as news surfaced that a terrible plane crash took the lives of at least 43 people, with most of the victims being members of the KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. This tragedy continues a nightmare summer for the sport, as people are still trying to process the heartbreaking deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak.

This news devastated many people associated with the NHL, with former teammates, opponents and fellow hockey players turning to Twitter to express their grief regarding the shocking news. Before we get to those comments, here is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s statement on the subject.

“Though it occurred thousands of miles away from our home arenas, this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world — including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends who at one time excelled in our League. Our deepest condolences go to the families and loved ones of all who perished.”

Take a look at just a few of the many statements players released on Twitter after learning about what happened.

Alex Ovechkin: “I’m still in shock !!!!! R.I.P …. ”

Michael Grabner: “Another terrible tragedy and loss to the hockey world. Thoughts and prayers go out to all the families … makes my body shake thinking bout it.”

Ryane Clowe: “Hearing the tragic news about the Russian plane crash almost brought me to my knees … So so sad and unfair. Prayers go out to all the families.”

Ilya Bryzgalov: “My deepest condolences go to families and friends of Lokomotiv. My thoughts and prayers are with wives, children and parents of victims.”

Martin Havlat: “I haven’t tweeted in a long time but want to speak today. To all the families of the Yaroslavl players, coaches and to the families of my good friends Josef Vasicek, Jan Marek and Ivan Rachunek, I send out my condolences and sympathies. You will never be forgotten.”

Andrew Ladd: “RIP Joe Vasicek. One of the nicest guys I’ve played with and always came to the rink with a smile on his face. Gone too soon #canes2006.”


Despite the ferocious level of competition involved, the hockey world can be considered a tight-knit community. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s roster contained plenty of players with NHL experience (as well as being coached by former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Brad McCrimmon), so it should come to little surprise that the impact of this news is being felt far beyond the crash site in Russia.

While several thousand Lokomotiv fans gathered outside Yaroslavl arena to mourn the terrible losses during a candle light vigil, countless others struggle with this news. This might be the darkest day in what has been an incredibly bleak summer for hockey.

Update (3:53 p.m.): Here is a statement from NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.

“Everyone within the NHLPA family is deeply saddened by the tragic passing today of players, coaches and staff from the KHL hockey club, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. The club included many former NHLPA members, as well as many members of the international hockey community. Words cannot express the profound sorrow that this loss has created. Our sincere condolences go out to the friends and families who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy.”

David Legwand pays tribute to Wade Belak

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While many might remember Wade Belak the most for being a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he finished his lengthy career as an NHL enforcer with the Nashville Predators.

Belak spent parts of three seasons with the organization. He was traded from the Florida Panthers to Nashville on November 27, 2008 and played 38 games for the Predators in the 2008-09 season. He then played 39 games with Nashville in 09-10 and 15 in 2010-11.

Nashville made enough of an impression on Belak that his funeral service will take place there on Sunday, but it turns out that the well-liked pugilist made an impression on the city and his final hockey team as well.

Predators center David Legwand decided to take out a full-page advertisement in The Tennessean to pay tribute to his former teammate on Saturday. Josh Cooper shared that heartfelt message with readers here.

“In Loving memory of Wade Belak”

“A Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Friend and Teammate!”

“One of the greatest, funniest, toughest guys to play the game of hockey, you warmed all of our hearts, brought life to the locker room and ice, and made us all laugh, whether it was with you or at you. More than you’ll ever know, you were loved by the guys you played with and those you stood up for. The hockey world has lost a great man on the ice and in the community and no team or sport had a better ambassador. You represented everything good about the game and its players.

You will forever have a place in the Predator family, community, and with your fans. You will always be in our hearts.

To Jen, Andie and Alex, Wade loved you each more than anything in the world and always had a smile on his face when he talked about his family. Wade, you went way before your time. So to our friend, with all the hugs, thoughts and prayers, we let you rest in peace.”

Legwand finished out the message by saying that it was written by him on behalf of the Predators’ players, coaches, trainers and organization as a whole.

Obviously it’s easy to be grim in tough times like these – and there’s certainly some very serious lessons to learn. But it’s important to remember that a person’s life shouldn’t be solely defined by the way it ends. Belak obviously touched a lot of lives when he wasn’t getting into on-ice skirmishes, something that will surely be mentioned during his funeral service tomorrow.