Tag: plane crash

APTOPIX Russia Crash

Russian investigators: KHL plane crash happened because of pilot error

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The sad story about Yaroslavl Lokomotiv and their horrific plane crash in September now has its closure. Russian authorities have determined that pilot error is the reason why their flight ended in the death of all players and flight crew aboard the jet.

44 people died in the crash back on September 7 and investigators determined that the Yak-42 plane had its brakes activated by the pilot accidentally before takeoff and then over-correcting the situation by trying to elevate the jet too fast. That combination of moves as well as a poorly managed plane and poorly trained flight crew led to disaster.

Such a horrible occurrence will not soon be forgotten by anyone, but here’s to hoping that the determination of what went wrong can lead to some kind of closure for the families and friends of all who perished in the accident.

Video: Pierre McGuire looks at the long term effects of what the Russian plane crash could be

Lokomotiv memorial

The tragedy in Russia that saw all the members of KHL team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl perish in a plane crash and leaving just one survivor from the flight has been one of the hardest stories for hockey fans around the world to face up to. From all the former NHL players who died in the crash to all the Russian professionals who lost their lives in the tragedy, it’s been a story that’s affected everyone.

Pierre McGuire, who coached Lokomotiv head coach Brad McCrimmon while with the Hartford Whalers, talked with NBC Sports Talk’s Russ Thaler to discuss what the effects of that tragedy could be on the KHL and to the psyche of all players who make a living hopping planes to travel city to city.

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KHL vice-president: “hockey has a fantastic ability to cure pain”

People lay flowers in front of the Arena
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The Kontinential Hockey League is in unchartered waters these days. With the KHL season kicking off this month, the league’s decision-makers are faced with the unenviable task of trying to help a league move forward from this catastrophic event. To a larger degree, they’re faced with the responsibility of helping a city, a sport, and a nation at large cope with a tragedy the hockey world has never seen before. Sensitive situations like these are never easy to deal with.

As fans, friends, and family deal with the grief of losing loved ones, the league must decide what they want to do going forward. It’s an unfortunate nature of business: time doesn’t stop in the midst of bereavement. No matter when the timing KHL chooses to plan for the future, there will be those who think that it’s too soon. It’s an emotionally charged time filled with sorrow, confusion, and even bitterness.

KHL vice-president Ilya Kochevrin understands that emotions are running at an all time high as the league tries to play for the future.

“Sports are based on the emotions. Nobody wants to exploit emotions, but I think you need to keep those emotions going. Otherwise, it’s very easy to switch the emotions to something else…

“People in Yaroslavl will need a place where they can actually put things together for themselves. I think hockey has a fantastic ability to cure pain.”

As Joe said earlier this week, fans and players will look to the game to heal together. One of the first steps towards healing together is returning the game to the city most horribly affected.

Many of the decision-makers within the KHL power structure agree that it would be best if Lokomotiv was rebuilt in some capacity this season. In addition to Kochevrin, KHL president Alexander Medvedev would like to see the existing team help restock the Lokomotiv roster for the current season. The KHL would utilize a dispersal draft (similar to an expansion draft in the NHL) where teams could protect a certain number of players while Yaroslavl selects players to round-out their team.

There will be a service to remember the players lost at Arena 2000 in Yaroslavl on Saturday. After the memorial, the league will meet to determine the most appropriate (and realistic) course of action for the rest of the season. It’s a logistical nightmare to put the team together after the season has already started even if the powers-that-be agree that Lokomotiv should be rebuilt for this season. But under extraordinary circumstances, there’s no telling what the league presidents will be able to accomplish.

I, for one, would like to see the league figure this out and give the people of Yaroslavl something to look forward to this season. While it seems like an impossible situation right now, the city is going to be faced with grief in the coming days, weeks, and even months. If it were an NHL team in a similar situation, an entire season of grief for a fan base would be a horrible way to try to recover. It would be like dealing with another lockout that was caused by losing your heroes in a catastrophe. Like Kochevrin said, the sport can help serve the community by giving the people something to join together and support.

Any way you cut it, this is a nightmare scenario for everyone involved. Hopefully the KHL can figure out the best course of action to help the healing.