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.