[Updated with statement from Islanders GM Garth Snow, reactions from Evgeni Nabokov]
News is filtering in from Russia about an awful tragedy that may have killed most of if not the entire roster for KHL team Lokomotiv, in a plane crash shortly after takeoff near Yaroslavl. Russia Today reports:
"HK Lokomotiv confirmed that its entire 37-strong main squad was on board the Yak-42. They were traveling to the Belarusian capital Minsk."
I have no words. I don't want to gawk at tragedies. But some beloved former NHLers were on that roster -- ex-Islander Josef Vasicek; Slovakian Pavol Demitra are listed -- so expect to be affected by the news as confirmed names come out.
To re-iterate, I have seen no individual fatalities identified as of this posting, but they'll be trickling in.
Update 11:30 a.m. EDT: Pavol Demitra's agent confirms he was killed in the crash
Update: 12:15 p.m. EDT: Multiple outlets cite the Czech embassy in Russia as confirming former Islander Josef Vašíček is among the dead, along with fellow Czechs Karel Rachunek and Jan Marek.
The list is long and devastating, on a horrible day for hockey.
Update: 3:45 p.m. EDT: Statement from Islanders GM Garth Snow:
New York Islanders General Manager Garth Snow's statement regarding the Lokomotiv plane crash:
“The entire New York Islanders organization is saddened by the confirmed reports of the devastating plane crash involving the Kontinental Hockey League club, Lokomotiv. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families that lost loved ones on that flight. Three members of the Islanders family were passengers, including former assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev and forward Josef Vasicek. We send our deepest sympathies to everyone who has been affected by this tragic event.”
The Islanders also posted reactions from goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, the goalie who was playing in the KHL just a year ago:
"I think I knew 80 percent of the team."
Feel free to post updates and links you see in comments here, and share thoughts. What a sad day for so many.