Former Bruins defenseman Brad McCrimmon was among those killed today when an airplane carrying the Kontinental Hockey League team Lokomotiv crashed as it took off from an airport in Russia, according to NHL.com.
Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said 43 people died in the crash. It also said there were two survivors.
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press McCrimmon was on the flight.
“I know that Brad was on the flight, but that’s all I know,” he said. “So obviously, it’s a tough day around here. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the family.”
McCrimmon was Lokomotiv’s coach. He joined the team on May 29 after 12 years as an assistant coach in the NHL, most recently with Detroit. He played for the Bruins, Flyers, Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, and Phoenix Coyotes during an 18-year playing career. He played for the Bruins from 1979 to 1982.
Several other NHL alumni were members of the Lokomotiv team, including Pavol Demitra and Ruslan Salei.
“This is awful,” Boston-based agent Matt Keator, longtime agent for Demitra, told the Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont this morning. “I’m praying Pav wasn’t on the flight. But I think he would have called me by now.”
Keator met McCrimmon just three weeks ago when he visited with Demitra and rest of Lokomotiv team in Riga, Latvia.
”It was the first time I met him, and what a tremendous guy. He was so psyched to be over there and be the head coach,” Keator said.
Keator is also Boston captain Zdeno Chara’s agent. Chara was flying back to Boston today, but left Keator a phone message while boarding the flight.
”Zee is devastated,” said Keator. ”He and Pavol (Demitra) grew up together in Trencin (Slovakia). They were best friends… trained together … Zee was captain of the [Slovak] Olympic team and Pavol was assistant. This whole thing is just awful.”