Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is back on the ice

The plane crash in Russia that killed every member of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team will be one of the top sports stories of 2011. Perhaps the rebirth of the team ought to be, as well.

As Yahoo! Sports reports, Lokomotiv will play out the remainder of the season in the top minor league before returning to the KHL next year.
"A hastily assembled squad of youth players from Lokomotiv and loans from other clubs," the team debuted in the VHL on Monday evening against Neftyanik Almetyevsk in Yaroslavl. The VHL is the top tier minor league of the KHL, where there's already a guarantee in place that Lokomotiv will return next season. According to Russian media, 9,000 tickets were sold out in four hours for the game.
The Voice of Russia posted this photo album of the team. In a separate story, it noted why it was important to many people to have Lokomotiv compete this season.  
The decision to restore the Yaroslavl “Lokomotiv” team, in honour of all those who were killed in the air crash and also for the sake of all ice-hockey fans, as well as for the sake of Russian ice hockey, was taken immediately after the air crash. At that time many hockey stars said that they were ready to play for the Yaroslavl hockey club. The Continental Hockey League (CHL) administration was ready to make concessions: to delay the beginning of the championship and to allow the Yaroslavl club to start playing again in 2 to 3 months’ time, when the team was in good form. However, the “Lokomotiv” administration made the right decision, which was the only one under the circumstances - to miss a season in the Continental Hockey League and to form a hockey team that would be to the liking of the Yaroslavl hockey fans.
And, yet, as the Moscow Times notes, the pain of September's crash remains on everyone's mind

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