Russian city remembers plane crash victims

September 8th, 2012 - 1:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Sep 8 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian city of Yaroslavl has paid its respects to the 44 people killed in a plane crash that wiped out an entire hockey team a year ago.

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was en route to its first game of the KHL season in Belarus when its jet crashed on take-off Sep 7, 2011.

Among the 44 killed in the disaster, blamed on pilot error, were Canadian head coach Brad McCrimmon and a host of former NHL stars and future draft prospects.

A memorial service was held at the city’s Uspensky Cathedral before friends and relatives of those killed laid flowers at Leontievsky Cemetery.

Tatyana Leonidova, the mother of the team’s right wing Andrei Kiryukhin, read aloud a list of her late son’s qualities jotted down on a notepad.

“Modest, a man of integrity, a caring son, grandson, brother and uncle, determined, hard-working, strong-willed, loyal, kind and open,” said Leonidova.

Kiryukhin’s sister Olga, 19, read the last SMS she received from her brother.

“Olyenka, we’re taking off. I’ll call as soon as we land.”

Since the tragedy, the three-time Russian champions have been assembling a new squad for its return to the KHL after fielding a makeshift team of youth players and loan signings in the junior MHL last season.

The team returned to the ice with a 5-2 victory over Sibir Novosibirsk Thursday, the eve of the anniversary of the disaster.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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