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The NHL’s ‘Emergency Rehabilitation Plan’ would cover nightmare scenarios like a plane crash

Sep 7, 2011, 5:10 PM EDT

People light candles to pay tribute to t Getty Images

As NHL.com’s John Kreiser points out, the NHL has been lucky enough to have never dealt with a catastrophe on the level of what the KHL is going through after Lokomotiv Yaraslavl’s tragic plane crash today.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been any accidents that have shaken up the NHL before, though. Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bill Barilko died in a plane crash in 1951 months after scoring a Stanley Cup-winning goal while former Los Angeles Kings player Ace Bailey and fellow scout Mark Bavis were aboard the second plane that crashed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

That being said, there has never been a situation in which an NHL franchise had to completely rebuild its team because of such a tragedy. Naturally, many people probably couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if an NHL team suffered a similar fate as Lokomotiv did today. Japer’s Rink unearthed a story from the Metro News that explains the league’s “Emergency Rehabilitation Plan.”

The piece explains that the league requires teams to have $1 million insurance policies for all of its players to cover a nightmare scenario like a plane crash. Here’s the rest of the details about such a situation via the Metro News.

If a team is left with fewer than 14 players and one goaltender following some sort of catastrophe, the league sets in motion its Emergency Rehabilitation Plan.

First, the “disabled team” would be allowed to negotiate to buy players under contract from other teams, with payment coming from the insurance money.

If that didn’t fill out the roster, a draft would be held, much like an expansion draft. Teams could protect 10 players and one goalie.

The disabled team would be allowed to take no more than one player from each of the other teams. The price for each player is $1 million in insurance money.

Considering the millions of miles that hockey teams travel, it only makes sense to have a contingency plan, even if it feels a bit morbid to imagine the details. There have been quite a few instances in which sports teams or individuals were involved in plane crashes, so the NHL should feel lucky to avoid such a tragedy. (You can read more about the history of such sad moments in sports here and here [H/T to James Mirtle]).

Let’s hope that we’ll never need to see the Emergency Rehabilitation Program in action, even if it’s a good thing to know that it exists.

  1. sanjosecupcrazy - Sep 7, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too early for this article. Maybe a week from now, but not today.

    • BlackandGoldMNBruinsFan - Sep 7, 2011 at 6:34 PM

      Absolutely agree. Wow, poor taste, PHT.

    • stakex - Sep 8, 2011 at 9:06 PM

      *rolls eyes* Stop being so damn sensative. We all die, its a fact of life…. accept that, and move on. Sure it was a horrible thing that happened in Russia, but I fail to see how talking about it or similar situations is a bad thing. Its not like those who died will magically come back to life if we don’t talk about it, or that others will somehow die if we do.

      • sanjosecupcrazy - Sep 8, 2011 at 9:25 PM

        Hey douchebag, if it was your family that dieg out there, I think you would have a different reaction. Nice to live in your little bubble, isn’t it?

      • chobes68 - Sep 8, 2011 at 11:28 PM

        Quit being a tool sanjo. I’m sure the families of those who died, or if it occurred here, those affected, would not be reading about the tragedy. Life doesn’t stop for the rest of the population, just because people have died elsewhere. Its a rather appropriate article, as I’m sure lots of people wondered what the contingency plan would be.

      • sanjosecupcrazy - Sep 8, 2011 at 11:33 PM

        Hey Chobes, take that kindergarten education of yours and think a little bit. Its’ not that the article wasn’t interesting or relevant — it’s that posting it 5 hours after the plane crashed is not appropriate. You must be another one of those Vancouver losers. LOL…..

  2. paul621 - Sep 7, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    I try to avoid making comments like this, but seriously, proofread! At least the lead sentence…

    • James O'Brien - Sep 7, 2011 at 5:29 PM

      It’s been fixed.

  3. govtminion - Sep 7, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    I’m going to have to disagree with the earlier comments. Not that it’s a pleasant thing to consider, but how many people heard about this and at some point today thought “what if…”?

    It’s not a fun thing to imagine, obviously, but if for no other reason, it’s good to have a post like this just to answer that question so many people- myself included- pondered at least briefly today.

    • sanjosecupcrazy - Sep 7, 2011 at 7:48 PM

      Didn’t say that the article was not interesting and something I hadn’t considered…. but I think it could have been released 5-7 days from now and been in much better taste. The wreckage of that plane is still smoldering right now.

      • hystoracle - Sep 8, 2011 at 9:39 AM

        Would have been forgotten about in a week. In a week, our attention will be diverted elsewhere (especially with camps opening up) and this tragic KHL story will seem like it was a year ago. Timing is proper for this type of story. It was exactly what I was wondering.

      • sanjosecupcrazy - Sep 8, 2011 at 12:25 PM

        You think this story is going to be forgotten in a week? Really?

      • stakex - Sep 8, 2011 at 9:12 PM

        You think its not? Wow… someone has been living in a cave for a lot of years.

        I mean obviouslly people will remember it and all, but in a day or two no one is going to care. Once the shock wears off, it simply fades into memory. The only ones who will still care all that much in a week or two are those directly effected by the crash. That might not be a “nice” thing to say, but its true.

        Look at the disaster in Japan. That was only in the news for weeks due to the constant news about the nuclear reactor. The second it was clear the situation was under control, the rest of the world didn’t care anymore…. even though tens of thousands of people had died.

      • sanjosecupcrazy - Sep 8, 2011 at 9:21 PM

        Wow…. Every bit of what you said is both wrong and completely insensitive. You must be from Vancouver.

      • chobes68 - Sep 8, 2011 at 11:29 PM

        by then it would have been forgotten. Life goes on.

      • sanjosecupcrazy - Sep 8, 2011 at 11:31 PM

        I think you’ll see when the season starts that this won’t be forgotten. Amazing how many people here are insensitive to this.

  4. bcjim - Sep 8, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    I thought it was timely and informative.

  5. kingjoe1 - Sep 8, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Not too early. I was having a conversation this morning regarding just this thing. Very interesting and I imagine all major sport leagues have similar scenarios.

  6. critter69 - Sep 8, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    My mother and my father were married when he was 26 and she was 21. They wrote a will, even though each should have lived for at least another 40-60 years (my mother is still alive, and 84 years old now).

    My father died of a heart attack before he turned 31.

    A few years later, my mother married again, this time to someone who was 35. Even though each should have lived for at least anther 35-55 years, they wrote a will. Five months later, my first step-father died, also of a heart attack.

    Sometimes, it is not ‘timely’ to think of or discuss something, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t timely to do it anyway.

  7. stakex - Sep 8, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Sounds like a decent plan to replace a lost team. Makes you wonder though, why teams don’t take two planes to games. That way, if one goes down you don’t lose the whole team. You could even go as far as to make sure not all your star players are on one plane.

    That might sound overly cautious, but thats sure as hell what I would do if I was an NHL owner.

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