American hockey wife spearheads support for Lokomotiv families

The ice hockey world is still reeling from the plane crash which took the lives of the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team this autumn. One woman whose husband is a prominent KHL defenseman has been reaching out to the families of the victims.

­It was the biggest tragedy ever to hit the sport of ice hockey – 250 kilometers from Moscow, on September 7, a plane crash killed 44 of the 45 people on board, 37 of whom were from the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl club.

An entire team wiped out in an instant. The world watched as pictures emerged from the wreckage, the news getting worse as the days passed.

Next came the funerals  and the grief-stricken images of wives and children left without their husbands and fathers – left without a breadwinner. It was that thought which spurred Stacy Dallman into action.      
Stacy is married to Kevin Dallman, former a NHL player and current defenseman for the Kazakh team Barys Astana in the Kontinental Hockey League. She is also mother to two young children.

Though her days at her Kazakh home are kept busy with Ava and Noah, the American was determined to find the time to help those directly affected by the Lokomotiv plane crash.

Now, she is doing just that. Establishing a charity fund in North America or Europe is a relatively straightforward process as it is easy to get help from those who have done it before.

But in Kazakhstan, there is no such luxury and Stacy would have to start from scratch.

“I felt really obligated to do something for them because I knew how it felt,” Stacy Dallman told RT. “I lost my own father in a car accident. I was 27 when that happened. So I remember how my mom felt, being a widow with no income coming into the family anymore.”    

With a little help from her friends and support from spouses of other hockey players, the Lokomotiv Wives Fund was launched.

“The idea just hit me – I could make a Facebook page and people could donate if they wanted,”
she said. “It took off. I have 2,000 fans among family members and followers. And people donate as much money or as little money as they can. It’s really been an eye-opening experience, seeing how people can pull together.”

Previously, Stacy’s computer was used mainly for keeping in touch with relatives back home. Now, it is kept busy running a web store.

The main aim of the site is to collect donations, but plans are afoot to sell jerseys and other items such as bracelets, and even to host KHL and NHL product auctions.

Every last cent, penny and rouble will go to the families of the deceased Lokomotiv players and coaches.

The page, which now has the support of 800-plus women, has grown into something even greater – the United Hockey Wives Fund, whose mission is to “improve the lives of ice hockey families and their associates through relief, education and opportunity.”  

It brings together wives from all over the world committed to helping their sisters whose lives were changed forever that September day.

“It was decided that maybe we should make a hockey wives foundation, so if anything like this would ever happen again or any hockey family needed help, we would already be together,” Stacy explained.  “And we’d just pull together really quickly to help them – whereas now it’s taking some time.”

United in vision, and determined never to forget those left behind. Stacy Dallman is the person who made it all happen – an American living in Kazakhstan giving hope to a Russian ice hockey team.

It’s an unlikely story, but it is proof that even out of unspeakable tragedy, hope can still emerge.

Canadian star enjoys KHL’s big ice

One of the KHL’s best defenders, Kevin Dallman of Canada, says it was the European-style rink that helped him to achieve his potential after his move to Kazakh side, Barys Astana.

­The 30-year-old defenseman captains the Kazakh team and his track record in scoring goals and points  easily beat many forwards.
He was part of all three KHL All-Star games and will play his fourth at the end of January, 2012.

Having joined the Kazakh side in 2008, Dallman was quick to establish his name in the league.

The Canadian’s 28 goals and 30 assists in his debut season broke the Soviet and Russian hockey record of scoring from his position and brought him the KHL’s best defenseman award.

“After my first year – I didn’t have a contract then – a few teams reached out to my agents and to Barys and tried to get me to leave the club,”
Dallman told RT. “But the year I had there and the friendships that grew within the team and the management made it a tough decision, and I couldn’t leave. They named me captain. Everything went well, fit well, and it was comfortable and I really enjoyed it here. Now my three year deal is up after this season, so we just have to wait and see how the season goes. But I’d like to stay here if I could.”

Moving to the capital of Kazakhstan was like a leap in the dark and was a tough decision to make for Dallman and his family.

However, it didn’t take them long to find out what Astana really looked like. The city was named the best in the CIS by the International Assembly of capitals and cities in 2011.

“I think one of the biggest things – and most North Americans will agree with me – is that when you hear ‘Russia’ or ‘Kazakhstan’, you hear horror stories,” he said. “Like it’s really rough, mean, tough and when I got over here I saw that it’s nothing like that, everybody tries to help you and it’s all welcoming. It is really modern, really like back home. It was easy to adjust. And I just talked to Stace on the phone and they came over here and we will hopefully stay here for the rest of my career.”

A new environment is always a challenge, but the sporting dimension is more important still. It often takes a while for North American players moving to Europe to get used to the bigger ice rinks.

However, Kevin Dallman is an altogether different story – a Canadian player whose real potential came out on European ice.

“The hockey is the same,” the Barys captain said. “The only difference is that the ice surface is a bit bigger. So you don’t get it too physical. It’s not as there, back home in the NHL. That’s not really what helped my game, but, actually, the bigger ice did because I like to read place and jump on the open ice. That made a big difference to my success here.”

Kevin Dallman is one of seven North Americans reinforcing the Kazakh snow leopards. That is what enables Barys to claw their opponents – in a purely hockey way, of course.

“North American style, European style, it’s all hockey,” he said. “And it all gels together with Europeans over there, Russians over there, so hockey is the same. Yes, we like to bring in that little bit of aggressiveness, body-checking, and it intimidates some players, but it’s hockey – you know that you may get hurt, you can’t be afraid out there.”

Barys currently sit fourth in the KHL’s Eastern conference with few worries of not making it to the playoffs.

Alex Ovechkin chats on Bruce Boudreau, Evgeni Malkin, Vladimir Putin

Mitchell Layton/Getty ImagesThe Capitals left winger has always found himself in the spotlight … for better or worse.

This story appears in the Dec. 12, 2011, “Interview Issue” of ESPN The Magazine.

Editor’s note: This interview was translated from Russian and conducted prior to the firing of Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau and the return of Sidney Crosby.

ESPN: I know you speak English very well. But I’d like to ask you questions in Russian.

Alex Ovechkin: Oh. (Sighs) Excellent.

ESPN: Have you ever thought about playing in the KHL?

AO: In the league, no. I have a contract. I’m happy with everything here.

ESPN: But have you thought about it?

AO: Well, I’ll play out my contract, and we’ll see what will happen.

ESPN: In the last year of your contract you will be 36 years old. How will Ovechkin play at 36?

AO: I don’t know how I’m going to play tomorrow. (Laughs) I never look forward. I live for today. And if you think about what’s going to happen in a year, in two years, then you begin to plan. And plans never come true.

ESPN: Is the success of the KHL important to you?

AO: Well, of course. It’s my native league. I played in it too, and my team plays there, my friends. If there’s no league, many hockey players will be out of work. The growth of the KHL is a very important aspect for the development of Russian sports.

ESPN: Should the best players be playing in the NHL?

More Ovechkin

While Alex Ovechkin has struggled this season, his dominance is clearly illustrated with a new stat from ESPN Insider’s Neil Greenberg. According to the Clutch Performance Indicator, Ovechkin has been the NHL’s most pivotal player since 2007-08. See how the rest of the league’s stars stack up, and who makes this season’s top 10.

AO: Everyone makes their own choice about where they want to play. I want to play here. If I wanted to play there, I wouldn’t have come here in the first season when I was 19 years old.

ESPN: You and Evgeni Malkin have raised money for the families of the players of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl [who perished in a plane crash], right?

AO: We have. I think each player had some kind of relationship with the guys, and has made some donations. It’s a difficult situation.

ESPN: You and Malkin are friends again, I see. How did your feud start? You punched his agent in a club in Moscow?

AO: Yes, that’s right. But that was a long time ago.

ESPN: Let’s talk about your rivalry with Sidney Crosby. What do you think about his extended absence from hockey?

AO: It’s a pity, of course, that he’s not playing now. Because I think he’s one of the best players in the league right now. May God grant him healing, and that everything will be fine. As I said before, I never plan what will happen in the future. You don’t know what will happen. You go out tomorrow, you could get body-checked and you can be in the same situation as Crosby. But that’s hockey, that’s life.

ESPN: You’re waiting for his return?

AO: Yes. I go to sleep and I pray that he will come back.

ESPN: You’re known for taking offseason trips to places like Turkey. But Caps fans see pictures of you smoking a hookah and partying in clubs. Not to mention those photos where you had a bit of a stomach …

AO: I have it now. (Pats his stomach. Laughs.)

ESPN: Fans are worried that you’re not taking care of your body. What’s your offseason regimen?

AO: The season is long. When I’m off, I try to distract myself from hockey. I don’t do anything for four weeks. I rest. If you train 12 months a year, you won’t have any strength for the important games.

ESPN: In the summer in Moscow, you appeared in a rap video by Sasha Bely, “Champion.” How did this come about?

AO: We had sung karaoke together a few times, and we came up with the idea to record a song. He told me that he had a song and he asked me to sing one verse. We gave it a try, and I sang alright, and it turned out well.

ESPN: Are you a good rapper?

AO: I’m as good a rapper as Eminem is a hockey player.

ESPN: I heard that you have Vladimir Putin’s home phone number. How often do you call him?

AO: Actually, I don’t have his number. But I would like to have it.

ESPN: How is he, as a person?

AO: Well, I think he is the future president of Russia. And he’s a clever man, a man who knows how to conduct himself, and he has the full respect of the Russian people.

ESPN: You have an interesting relationship with your coach, Bruce Boudreau. He is often criticized for having special relationships with talented players like yourself. However, at the end of the [Nov. 1] game against Anaheim, he benched you. The cameras caught your commentary about his weight. What kind of relationship do you have with Boudreau?

[+] Enlarge

AO: We have an excellent relationship. But it’s a working environment. It always feels that way. If we’re not pushing each other, we won’t be satisfied and there won’t be any results. I think it’s normal. Of course, it was regrettable that the cameras filmed it all. But again, this is a working moment.

ESPN: Many people have criticized Boudreau, especially after last year’s HBO series, for being tactically naive. How would you defend your coach against this criticism?

AO: There will always be critics. On one hand, criticism can be positive. On the other hand, criticism can be negative. But critics will always be watching the game. If you listen to everybody, you can go crazy. I have my own point of view, and I always try to keep it.

ESPN: You saw how your teammate Jay Beagle was knocked out by Arron Asham earlier this season. This incident, along with the deaths of a couple of enforcers in the offseason has led to a discussion of banning fighting from the NHL. What’s your position?

AO: Fighting is necessary in hockey. But if you fight, you have to choose your partner carefully. If you’re an experienced player and you want to fight, you can’t choose a player who has never fought in his life.

ESPN: I’ve heard that you are the most eligible bachelor in Washington. Is this true?

AO: No comment.

ESPN: How do you spend time with girls?

AO: I have a girlfriend. That’s all. I won’t say anything more.

ESPN: Who is more aggressive — an American or a Russian woman?

AO: Well, again, it depends on what. Americans have a different mentality than Russians, both men and women. Therefore, there is no point comparing.

ESPN: Could you see yourself with an American girl?

AO: Anything can happen. For now, I can’t predict these events.

ESPN: The Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup. Since you’ve been on the team, the Caps have experienced disappointment in the playoffs more than once. Why should we believe in you and in Caps?

AO: Well, as they say, you can believe, or you cannot believe, but we do everything possible to win. Therefore, we are here for one purpose, to get into the playoffs and make it through the first, the second round …

Brett Forrest is a contributing writer for ESPN The Magazine. Interview conducted Nov. 7, 2011


Revived and Rejuvenated: Lokomotiv publish new roster

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club, whose main squad got killed in a plane crash in September, have revealed their new lineup to take part in the VHL season.

­The roster of 20 names consists of young Russian players. The veteran among those selected, Daniil Erdakov, was born in 1989.

Head coach Pyotr Vorobiev turns out to be the most famous figure in the new Lokomotiv team.

The 62-year-old, who began his coaching career back in 1981, was in charge of such teams as Dynamo Riga, Dynamo Moscow, Lada Togliatti, Atlant Moscow Region, Torpedo Nizhny-Novgorod and the Latvian national squad.

He also worked in Yaroslavl, spending five years with Loko from 1996 till 2001, and returned to the club after the tragedy.

Lokomotiv make their VHL debut on December 12, facing Neftyanik Almetyevsk on home ice.

The Yaroslavl team will play only half of the season in Russia’s second-strongest hockey league, but, according to the regulations, they will make the playoffs regardless of the results they show.

Loko administration has earlier announced that the team will be missing this year’s KHL season, but plan to field a new team for the 2012/13 championship.  

A Yak-42 aircraft, carrying the players, coaches and team personnel of three-time Russian champions Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crashed immediately after takeoff from Tunoshna Airport in the Yaroslavl Region on September 7.

The investigators put the blame for the accident, in which none of the 37 team members survived, on pilot error.

Lokomotiv’s VHL roster:

Goalkeepers: Aleksandr Skrynnik (1991), Nikita Lozhkin (1991);

Defenders: Egor Yakovlev (1991), Pavel Lukin (1990), Yan Krasovsky (1990), Vitaly Zotov (1992), Oleg Misyul (1993), Arthur Amirov (1992);

Forwards: Aleksandr Lebedev (1994), Emil Galimov (1992), Kirill Voronin (1994), Daniil Apalkov (1992), Maksim Zyuzyakin (1991), Kirill Kapustin (1993), Magomed Gimbatov (1990), Dmitry Maltsev (1991), Daniil Romantsev (1993), Oleg Yashin (1990), Daniil Erdakov (1989), Vladislav Kartaev (1992).

Putin trains with Russian ice hockey legends

“Lavrov said Moscow had discussed the issue with Afghan and U.S. representatives, but “there are more questions than answers so far.”

“Moreover, information comes in periodically that our American colleagues want to expand their military presence in central Asia,” he said.

Lavrov said, from the start of the operations against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Russia was told that the foreign presence in Afghanistan and its transit centers in central Asia would be used purely to fight that particular terrorism threat.

“Russia was told there were no long-term geopolitical calculations,” Lavrov said, adding these principals should be respected in full he said”

For crying out loud what a calamity in Moscow way of thinking time after time America have double crossed Russia, and time after time again Russia plays stupid “YES STUPID AND I MAKE NO BONES OF IT”
How the hell did not Moscow saw it coming how? First there was to be no NATO Eastwards expansion Russia took it with a smile, when they got sober they realize it was all a lie from the start, then America got Russia to scrap there Typhoon class subs the largest in the world, Libya, the missile shield, and many more instances where Russia sits on the table the West hands a” glass of don’t think drink” over the table whiles they the West drinks intelligence cocktails with Russia as dessert.
I keep saying again and again Russia has no foreign policy that is effective to counter the West all they do is play absentminded in the face of dealing with the West and cry out loud after, when they are double crossed.
It is clear to see that NATO is encircling Russia and make no mistake the West has an aim here, to split up Russia starting from the Far East, they are still putting finishing touches to their disenchanted Russians be it in the military of civil society when all is set then they will launch Russia can pour scorn on this scenario but just wait and see one day, one day the West will strike.
Russia keep talking of surprises keep talking of been double crossed keeps the same current foreign policy, and see what will happened down the road.
I do believe Putin and Medvedev can do the job for Russia but what is needed is a strong, steady and clear foreign policy which does not exists in my view and I am not alone in this thinking.
Russian my dear it is clear for everyone to see you have to make a 360 degree u-turn without any hesitation whiles watching the traitors from within.

Vityaz don’t need coach to win

Despite having to get by without head coach Andrey Nazarov, Vityaz Chekhov, who are rock bottom in the KHL’s Western Conference, have claimed a 3-2 away victory against Spartak Moscow.

­Things have not been going well recently for Vityaz, as they took on Spartak Moscow. They have the second-worst record in the KHL, while the club is more famous for their fights on the ice rather than the quality of their hockey.

And if things couldn’t get any worse, head coach Andrey Nazarov, was banned for two games, after striking out at fans last time out in Minsk after his team’s bench had had objects thrown at them.

However, the Chekhov side’s netminder says the incident was perhaps blown out of proportion.

“I think everyone is thinking something different,” Matthew Dalton, Vityaz keeper, told RT. “For us Canadians, we kind of used to it a little bit. It doesn’t really scare us or anything. That kind of stuff happens all the time back at home. It’s different here. It’s a different mentality here. But it was interesting, you know.”

However, despite a scoreless first period, things would start well for the visitors as they would take the lead through Mikhail Anisin, whose slapshot managed to beat Spartak goalie Aleksey Yakhin from close range.

The Muscovites were soon level as Slovakia’s Marcel Hossa restored parity for the home side midway through the second period.

With just six minutes remaining, Hossa grabbed his second to put the Red-and-Whites on the verge of victory.

However Vityaz had other ideas and would make it 2-2 just 30 seconds later, with Fedoseev getting the vital goal to give his side the chance of getting a much needed win in overtime.

In the end, the side from Chekhov would not need the extra period, as they would settle the game with just a minute left.

Spartak committed too many men forward and the visitors took full advantage as Anisin added his second of the game on the break away to give Vityaz the points.

“We only won those five games, but we have beaten some pretty good teams,”
Dalton said. “I think we showed to people that we can play hockey too if we want to. We aren’t just a bunch of hooligans and fighters. So hopefully, we can get something on again. But you know it is tough. Every team in this league is good. It’s not like any game is an easy games, especially for us. We have to work hard to be successful.”

Delight for Andrey Nazarov, who was forced to watch the game from the stands, while his side managed to snap a two game losing streak with that 3-2 victory.

Angry Bird mascot for hockey Worlds

The organizers of the Hockey World Championships in Sweden and Finland have presented the official mascot of the next year’s event.

­The Hockey Bird, developed by the designers of the world famous Angry Birds computer game, has become the main star of the ceremony held in the Finish capital, Helsinki.

“For us, getting the Hockey Bird was fantastic,”
Mika Sulin, general secretary of the Finnish tournament organization, told the IIHF official website. “Angry Birds is Finnish, known worldwide, and one of the hottest topics of conversation wherever you go.”

The mascot’s designer, Toni Kysenius, said that creating Hockey Bird was challenging, but very exiting experience for him.

“He’s the first angry bird who gets to break free from the Angry Birds game environment,”
he explained. “His job is to bring bird energy to a big sports carnival and basically, be everywhere.”

The organizers have also revealed the full factfile on the hockey world championship’s symbol:  

Name: HockeyBird
Born: Yes, other details unknown
Position: Left defenceman (a scout’s evaluation)
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 108 kg
Favorite food: Fish sticks, waffles and strawberry jam
Favorite music: Hard rock
Motto: Puck sweet puck

The 76th IIHF World Championship will take place at the arenas in Helsinki and Stockholm between May 4 – 20, 2012.

Russia take first trophy of season

Team Russia have claimed the first trophy of the season, finishing above three other contenders – Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic – in the first fixture of the European hockey tournament, the Karjala Cup.

Evgeny Kuznetsov won the match for Russia when he scored with 10 seconds remaining to secure a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic.

The victory gave Russia an unassailable eight points, which made it unreachable for other teams.

The Czechs opened the scoring with a powerplay goal from Petr Nedved midway through the second period. Aleksandr Radulov, who has previously scored four goals for Russia at the tournament, equalized at 14:33 of the third, also on a powerplay, to keep Russian hopes of securing a tournament victory alive.

But the night belonged to Kuznetsov, who sealed the victory when it seemed overtime was almost inevitable.

Pilot Error Caused Fatal Crash

Pilot Error Caused Fatal Crash

Published: November 2, 2011 (Issue # 1681)

MAXIM SHIPENKOV / AP

Rescuers search through plane wreckage from the crash that killed 43, including most of the Lokomotiv hockey team.

MOSCOW — The pilot of the chartered Yak-42 that crashed in September, killing most of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv hockey team, confused the plane’s brakes with footrests during takeoff, precipitating the tragedy, Kommersant reported Monday.

Having trained on a Yak-40, pilot Andrei Solomentsev thought he was putting his feet on footrests when he was actually slowing the plane down. Then, as he tried to lift off, he jammed on the brakes even harder, investigators said.

As a result, the Yak-42 failed to gain enough speed on the runway. It began to fall moments after takeoff, clipping a navigation beacon before crashing into the ground and bursting into flames.

Forty-four passengers and crew — including nearly the entire Lokomotiv team and Canadian head coach Brad McCrimmon — died in the crash. Only mechanic Alexander Sizov survived.

Investigators say it is not uncommon for Yak-40 pilots to confuse the pedals on the newer Yak-42s, but in most cases, the errors are quickly recognized and corrected. The Interstate Aviation Committee, which is running the investigation, has ordered airlines to conduct additional pilot training.

Solomentsev’s decision not to abort the flight after the Yak-42 failed to take off has been more difficult to explain. Investigators believe he was afraid that he and his company, Yak-Service, would be punished if Lokomotiv was late for its season-opener in Minsk. He also might have worried that braking at 185 kilometers per hour — the plane had already rolled off the runway — was dangerous.

The results of the investigation into the crash will be made public on Wednesday, the committee reported.

Putin finds new owner for CSKA

The involvement of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was required to finally solve the financial problems of Russian hockey’s most titled club, CSKA Moscow.

­

According to Interfax news agency, WGC-3 Energy Company has sold 100 per cent of CSKA’s shares on Tuesday.

Neither the buyer nor the value of the deal has been revealed, but earlier media reports suggested that Rosneft Oil Company is likely to become the new owner of the Moscow team.

In October, CSKA’s management was forced to address Vladimir Putin, informing him unstable and untimely financing threatened the team’s very existence.  

Right after that, Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko promised that the authorities would help the legendary club.

WGC-3 acquired CSKA for $300 million from the Norilsk Nickel company in January, 2011.
CSKA Moscow is the most-titled club in the history of Russian and Soviet hockey as the Army Men won the USSR championships 32 times along with 12 national cups.

The club now plays in the KHL, but has failed to reach its former greatness in recent years.  
This is not the first time that Vladimir Putin has rescued a sports team. Back in 2009, the prime minister found new sponsors for FC Tom, who were considering withdrawal from the Russian Football Premier League.

Only survivor of Russia ice hockey plane crash released from hospital

The only survivor of the plane crash that killed virtually the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team was released from hospital on Friday, hospital staff said.

Crew member Alexander Sizov spent more than 7 weeks in a Moscow hospital after last month’s tragedy.

Lokomotiv’s chartered Yak-42 crashed just after takeoff on September 7 as the team was heading to Minsk for their season opener against Dinamo Minsk. Forty-three people were killed, including a slew of former NHL stars and future draft prospects. The only surviving team member – Alexander Galimov – died in hospital five days later.

Sizov, who received multiple fractures, head injuries and burns to 15 percent of his body, was moved to Moscow from Yaroslavl the next day after the crash. A week later, doctors said Sizov’s condition had stabilized.

In early October, Sizov underwent plastic surgery on his face and neck. His condition was described as satisfactory.

In an interview with Channel One television in mid-October, he said he was planning to continue work in the aviation industry, but might not fly anymore.

CSKA no match for Dynamo this KHL season

Dynamo hockey players have once again beaten rivals from CSKA in their second Moscow derby of the KHL season.

­The hosts easily put their noses in front when they were awarded a 4-on-3 powerplay in the fifth minute.

And Maksim Soloviev found himself unmarked on the spot and fired the puck into the net, 1-0.

The game stayed tight in the second and the third periods with few scoring opportunities for either side.

Dynamo’s home ice is at Luzhniki in central Moscow, but some of their top-flight encounters are played at the much bigger and more comfortable Megasport arena nearby.

“If you have a great big arena like this and all the games are played in there, it’ll become THE place where hockey is played,” said Canadian journalist Alexandre Pouliot-Roberge. “And if you play in one place or another and you change often, people won’t get into the habit of seeing it played there.”   

Eight minutes before the final buzzer, CSKA’s Petr Caslava and Denis Tolpeko from Dynamo decided to put on the gloves and change sports to boxing.

The fight should have fired up the players to attack, but Dynamo’s Alexander Yeremenko was like a brick wall between the pipes to record his third shutout of the season.

The Armymen staked everything for an equalizer, pulling the goaltender and leaving the goal wide open for Dynamo to kill off the game. Janne Jalasvaara scored an empty-netter to seal the final 2-0 win.

“There might have been less tension than normal for a derby, but still the game was very tough and we were eager to win tonight after two straight loses,” Dynamo’s Sergey Konkov said. “Fortunately, we won. And we played much more accurately in defense,” he added.     

“It wasn’t easy to win. The calendar was drawn so that we have lots of cross-city clashes in the first part of the campaign. But next year we’ll have fewer encounters with our rivals,” Konkov’s partner, Sergey Soin, added.

After the game, both sides kept their positions in the rankings.

Dynamo broke their two-loss run and now sit third in the Western Conference, behind SKA Saint-Petersburg and Dynamo Minsk, while CSKA are 11 points behind the Blue-and-Whites in sixth place.

Russia bans airline in ongoing crackdown after ice hockey crash

Russia’s air transport agency, Rosaviatsia, has stripped a regional airline of its license in the latest crackdown on domestic carriers following a plane crash last month that killed most of a major league ice hockey team.

Mordovia Airlines has had its license revoked and freight carrier UTair-Cargo has been banned from using the Antonov An-2 aircraft.

Last week, four airlines were banned from flying.

Speaking shortly after the September 7 crash, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said national aviation safety must be improved.

Some 36 players and officials from the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, as well as seven crewmembers, died when their chartered jet crashed on takeoff near the central city of Yaroslavl. The only team member on the plane to survive the crash died of his injuries several days later.

 

Lokomotiv begin building new squad

Egor Yakovlev has become the first new player signed by the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team, whose main squad members were killed in a plane crash in September.

­The 20-year-old, whose registration belonged to Ak Bars Kazan, was added to Loko’s roster under number 44 on Friday.

On their official website, the Yaroslavl team have thanked Ak Bars for their understanding of the club’s difficult situation during the negotiations of the move.

Yakovlev has been playing for Neftyanik Almetyevsk in Russia’s second-strongest league, the VHL, collecting five points in 15 games this season.

The youngster has already made his KHL debut with Ak Bars last year in a game against Kazakh side Barys.

Lokomotiv plan to return to the KHL in the 2012/13 championship. But for now the Railway Men will play just 22 games in the VHL – one against each team – and their participation in the play-offs will be determined based on the percentage of points earned by the team.   

A Yak-42 aircraft, carrying the players, coaches and Lokomotiv team personnel, crashed immediately after take-off from Tunoshna Airport in the Yaroslavl Region on September 7.

Thirty-six team members were killed instantly, while the only player to survive the crash – 26-year-old Aleksandr Galimov – passed away later in a Moscow hospital.

Milan first step in KHL’s Western European expansion

The KHL is continuing its search for new members all across Europe, with a club from Italy getting ready to join the league next season.

­The choice of Milano Rossoblu hockey club to become the first Western European side in the league is not as exotic as it first seems.

“We have a very long history of hockey [in Italy]. And in Milano it is very long, too,” Ico Miglore, Milano Rossoblu president, said. “Because we started in 1923, when the first indoor arena was built in Milano. And it was the first indoor arena in Europe.”

Nevertheless, ice hockey is still some distance from topping football in terms of popularity in Italy. The Stadio Olympico in Turin was one of the main venues for the 2006 Winter Olympic program.

But five years on, there is barely a reminder of the epic hockey battles that took place here. The ice rink was removed soon after the Games finished, allowing the stadium to become the new home of Juventus and Torino football clubs.

However, Milano Rossoblu are set to join the Kontinental Hockey League in 2012.

“They have finally agreed that we have the capability in terms of organization to join the league,”
Miglore explained. “Of course, it is not going to be a superstar team from the very beginning – we need time to develop.”

“The 2006 Winter Olympics didn’t affect the popularity of hockey in the country at all,”
Massimo Da Rin, Milano Rossoblu coach, said. “Of course, the Games were a great event for the Italian people, stadiums were renovated, and a lot of infrastructure developed, so some local clubs gained a lot then – but not the Italian game as a whole. In this respect, the KHL is another chance for us. Not only for Milan, but for the entire country to take a significant step forward.”

The addition of Rossoblu may seem like a small step for the KHL, but for the club itself it is quite simply a massive leap.

Lokomotiv hockey team remembered in Yaroslavl on 40th day since crash

Players of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team, killed in a plane crash last month, were remembered in the team’s home city of Yaroslavl on Sunday, the 40th day since the tragedy.

Memorial events started with a service held in the city’s Assumption Cathedral by Metropolitan Panteleimon of Yaroslavl and Rostov.

According to the Orthodox beliefs, special prayers for deceased are held on the ninth, and 40th days after death; the third, sixth and ninth months, and annually thereafter.

On 13:00 Moscow time (9:00 GMT) a charity requiem concert will be held in the team’s home arena.

Lokomotiv’s chartered Yak-42 crashed just after takeoff on September 7 as the team was heading to Minsk for their season opener against Dinamo Minsk. Forty-three people were killed including a slew of former NHL stars and future draft prospects. The only surviving team member – Alexander Galimov – died in hospital five days later.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, founded in 1949 as the team of the Railways Ministry, is one of Russia’s leading hockey teams and came runner up in the nascent KHL in 2008 and 2009. In 1997 it took the Russian Superleague title and won back-to-back championships in 2002 and 2003. It was one of the favorites for current KHL season.

 

Hockey team to be remembered in Yaroslavl on 40th day since crash

Players of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team, killed in a plane crash last month, will be remembered in the team’s home city of Yaroslavl on Sunday, the 40th day since the tragedy.

According to the Orthodox beliefs, special prayers for deceased are held on the ninth, and 40th days after death; the third, sixth and ninth months, and annually thereafter.

Memorial events fo will begin on 9:00 Moscow time [5:00 GMT] from a service in the city’s Assumption Cathedral.

On 13:00 Moscow time (9:00 GMT) a charity requiem concert will be held in the team’s home arena.

Lokomotiv’s chartered Yak-42 crashed just after takeoff on September 7 as the team was heading to Minsk for their season opener against Dinamo Minsk. Forty-three people were killed including a slew of former NHL stars and future draft prospects. The only surviving team member – Alexander Galimov – died in hospital five days later.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, founded in 1949 as the team of the Railways Ministry, is one of Russia’s leading hockey teams and came runner up in the nascent KHL in 2008 and 2009. In 1997 it took the Russian Superleague title and won back-to-back championships in 2002 and 2003. It was one of the favorites for current KHL season.

Traktor takes KHL lead

Dynamo Moscow has failed to prevent Traktor Chelyabinsk from climbing on top of the KHL standings.

­The Siberian club, which has never been among the leaders of Russian hockey, is showing impressive form under coach Valery Belousov this season, collecting their seventh win in a row.

The outcome of the tight game in Moscow was decided by a powerplay goal from Jan Bulis in the first period.

The final score was settled seconds before the siren when Vladimir Antipov sent the puck into Dynamo’s empty net, 2-0.

The win propelled Traktor to the top of the KHL standings, with 28 points after 13 matches.

They are followed in the standings by another surprise squad, Amur Khabarovsk, who are two points behind.

Last flight of Yak-42 went wrong from very beginning

The only survivor in the Yak-42 plane crash near Yaroslavl, which killed virtually the entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional hockey team, said the flight went wrong from the very beginning.

The troubles began when the plane accelerated for takeoff.

“Passengers started to worry almost immediately why we were not taking off. Shortly after I understood that the plane would run off the runway. When we took off it was clear that the plane was rolling and we would soon crash,” crew member Alexander Sizov said.

The 52-year-old aircraft engineer said he was in the cabin during takeoff and his safety belt was not fastened.

“Everything flew on impact, I was hit hard by something, the right side of my body is all broken. I found myself in water, I didn’t notice anything around me. I didn’t notice the plane wreckage, I didn’t notice the fire, I saw nothing,” he said.

“I survived by a miracle,” Sizov said, adding that he has no plans to quit aviation.

Mi-8 helicopter with 7 people aboard goes missing in Trans-Baikal area

A Mi-8 helicopter with seven people aboard went missing in Russia’s Trans-Baikal area, a source in regional law-enforcement agencies said on Sunday.

‘The helicopter failed to establish contact at 12:45 p.m. Moscow time. After that an emergency location beacon started to send signals,” the source said.

The helicopter, which belongs to the Siberian branch of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry, was performing a flight over forests in the south of the region.

The location of the helicopter is unknown. A search for the helicopter has been organized, the source said.

Also on Sunday, an Antonov An-2 biplane crashed in the Krasnodar Territory in south Russia, injuring a pilot. The plane crashed at about 12 hours in the afternoon on Sunday near the village of Zasovskaya. The pilot was taken to a district hospital.

Russia has been hit by a string of recent fatal disasters involving aircraft.

On September 7, a Yak-42 plane crashed near the Volga city of Yaroslavl shortly after takeoff killing forty-four people and wiping out the Lokomotiv ice hockey team. The team was flying to the Belarus capital of Minsk for its first match of the Kontinental Hockey League season.

In June, the RusAir Tupolev Tu-134 plane crashed in northwest Russia’s Karelia region killing 44 people.