Today we remember the 44 people aboard a plane en route to Belarus when it crashed on take-off on September 7, 2011.
The crashed killed the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team, including Canadian head coach Brad McCrimmon and several former NHL players including Pavol Demitra.
The cause of the crash was identified in November 2011, attributing the two pilots who flew the aircraft to have done so “illegally.” One of the pilots possessed falsified documents and the other lacked adequate training. The deputy head of the airline Yak-Service, Vadim Timofeyev could face up to seven years in prison after being charged with breaching air safety rules
Jason Strudwick was in the midst of considering where to continue his career after finishing a career with the NHL a year ago. Russia was a strong consideration because the pay there is so good.
“The money is so good in Russia. It’s a life-changing amount of money,” Strudwick said about his consideration of playing in Russia. He then recalls what was going through his mind at the time of the crash.
“I remember it exactly,” he said. “I was driving to a workout that morning and heard the news on the car radio. I literally had to pull over. I felt sick. I knew (head coach) Brad McCrimmon, (assistants) Alexander Karpovtsev, Igor Korolev… I pretty much knew that second, we weren’t going to go to Russia. It was a game changer.”
On the eve of the anniversary of last year’s disaster, the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl made a triumphant return to the KHL with a 5-2 victory at Sibir Novosibirsk.