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Lokomotiv will not play in KHL this season

Sep 10, 2011, 3:55 AM EDT

Russia Plane Crash AP

As the city of Yaroslavl honors those lost in Wednesday’s plane crash, word out of Russia is that Lokomotiv’s season will be placed on hold. Pavel Lysenkov from Sovietsky Sport is reporting that Lokomotiv club president Yuri Yakovlev has said the team will not play in the KHL this season. The announcement comes while 7,500 friends and fans gather outside of Arena 2000 to pay their last respects to the players and staff members who lost their lives on their way to Minsk, Belarus.

Obviously, any decision after the crash regarding the immediate future of the team had to be handled with care. With all of the logistical problems in building a team from scratch at the beginning of the season, Yakovlev decided it would be best if the team’s return wasn’t rushed. There is no blueprint for a catastrophe of this nature. There is no acceptable norm. In a time with bleeding hearts and gut-wrenching grief, it’s easy to understand that the city and the organization would take their time as they contemplate their future.

It had been reported that KHL President Alexander Medvedev supported the idea of existing KHL teams aiding Yaroslavl to restock their team this season. League vice-president Ilya Kochervrin explained that hockey had the potential to help the city and fans recover from the devastating pain associated with the crash.

Still, with the support of the league and opposing teams, it was too daunting to put together in such a quick fashion. Kochevrin explained that it would be Lokomotiv’s management that had the final say regarding this season.

“”The final decision is going to be (from) the team management. It’s not going to be the league or administration or anybody else. It has to be team management because they’re the ones who will be responsible for building up the team.”

Even though Lokomotiv will not participate this season on the ice, they will still be remembered around the league. Representatives from each and every KHL were in attendance during Saturday’s memorial at Arena 2000. In addition to the representatives, Atlant, AK Bars, Moscow Dynamo, CSKA, Spartak, Severstal, and Torpedo all sent their entire teams to pay their respects. KHL club AK Bars has already pledged to donate all of the proceeds from ticket sales of their first game against Dinamo Riga on Tuesday, September 13. Aeroflot has even offered better planes for KHL teams to use throughout the season.

They will be remembered.

All we can hope is that time helps heal the emotional scars left after this catastrophe. People will never forget – nor should they – but the decision to cancel the season is understandable as the fans and organization try to pick up the pieces. When they finally do come back next season, something tells me they’ll have a few more fans pulling for the team (and city) to succeed.

  1. capsrockva - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    While I thought it might be a chance that they would not play this season, I was hoping they might be able to. They have to retire all those jersey numbers forever.

    • mianfr - Sep 10, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      That’s kind of a lot of numbers… A memorial would do…

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 10, 2011 at 5:45 PM

      Maybe instead of retiring the jersey #’s, how about retiring the jersey itself? Come up with a new design and have the current jerseys hanging to make it an everlasting memorial. Either way, it makes sense for the team to take a leave of absence.

      • psujay - Sep 10, 2011 at 9:32 PM

        You know…that’s a hell of an idea. Just a brand new jersey, and wear the old one opening day every year as a tribute. I like it.

      • balewsquare - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:55 AM

        Was just thinking the same thing. Put it up in the rafters, come up with a new logo/jersey when the team returns.

  2. polegojim - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Best decision they could make. While noble, retiring that many jersey’s permanently just isn’t practical. Do so for the next season they play only.

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