This summer has been rough for any who are fans of the great sport of hockey. Derek Boogaard. Rick Rypien. Wade Belak. Tom Cavanagh. And now, hockey has suffered one of the greatest losses in our history; today, the entire Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team of the Kontinental Hockey League has been killed in a plane crash just outside of Yaroslavl. Forty three of the forty five people on board the plane have passed. Those on board who have spent time in the NHL included Pavol Demitra, Karel Rachunek, Josef Vasicek, Jan Marek, Ruslan Salei and Karlis Straskins. Take a second to think. What if one day you were sitting your home team’s arena and over the loudspeaker you hear “The Detroit Red Wings team has been in a plane crash. There were only two survivors.” Though it may be oceans away, they’re all hockey players. They’re our boys. We all love hockey.
Tonight, hug everyone in your family tighter. Next game, cheer a little louder. Always strive to remember those we’ve lost not only today, not only those in the hockey family, but in our own lives. We cannot take anything we have for granted. To all the men of Lokomotiv, Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, Tom Cavanagh, Wade Belak and all other men and boys who have died hockey players, Rest In Peace.