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League postpones openers after plane crash

Sept. 8, 2011 at 1:39 PM
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MOSCOW, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Officials postponed the opening of the hockey season for a league that included a team involved in the airplane crash in Russia this week.

Several Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team and staff members were among the 43 people who died in the crash of a Yaik-42 aircraft Wednesday. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Yaroslavl.

The plane was en route to Belarus where Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was to open the Kontinental Hockey League season Thursday.

League officials said the entire league would delay opening until Monday. There is a memorial service scheduled for the crash victims Saturday.

Among the victims was Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's new coach, Brad McCrimmon, a former NHL defenseman. Also killed were former NHL players Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei, Karel Rachunek, Josef Vasicek, Karlis Skrastins and Alexander Vasyunov.

KHL President Alexander Medvedev said the league would help Lokomotiv Yaroslavl put a competitive team on the ice, with other KHL teams offering players to rebuild the team.

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