A plane carrying the Russian Kontinental Hockey League club, Lokomotiv, has crashed and killed at least 43 people, according to state television channel Rossiya 24.
The crash occurred at 4 p.m. Moscow time (noon GMT). According to a report, the team was headed to Minsk for the Lokomotiv's opening game. The aircraft, a Yak-42, never gained altitude, traveling about 500 meters until it crashed and burst into flames. A source told the ITAR-Tass News Agency the plane may have hit a tree.
A report from RIA Novosti said two people have survived the crash. One is Russian national side player Alexander Galimov and the other is a member of the crew.
At first we didn't want to believe it. But right now there is no hope. The team is gone, a club official has told Sovetsky Sport.
The KHL team had a lot of NHL ties. Several of the players had been drafted by NHL squads and a number of them had NHL playing experience.
The Yak-42 has been in service since 1980. The plane that crashed was newer than that, having been built in 1993. It belong to a small Yak service company.
Russia doesn't exactly have a spotless record in the air. Last year, 34 people were killed and hundreds were injured in 24 aircraft accidents in the country. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has previously promised to upgrade old Soviet era planes and phase them out.
Lokomotiv, one of the KHL's better teams, plays out of the community of Yaroslavl. The team finished third last year and featured several top Canadian and European players. While nothing has been confirmed yet, here is a reported list of who is dead and who survived from various news sources including RIA Novosti, ESPN, TSN and elsewhere.
Coach Brad McCrimmon - Canadian Ex-NHL player for 18 years. Played for the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Calgary Flames, Hartford Whalers, Phoenix Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings. Recently an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings.
Assistant Coaches: Igor Korolev, Alexander Karpovtsev and Nikolai Krivonosov are also reported dead.
Karel Rachunek - Czech, Ex-NHL and European league player. Most recently with the Detroit Red Wings.
Josef Vasicek - Czech, Ex-NHL and European league player. Most recently with the New York Islanders.
Pavol Demitra, - Slovakia, Ex-NHL for 16 years. Most recently with Vancouver Canucks.
Ruslan Salei - Belarus, Ex-NHL player. Most recently with the Detroit Red Wings.
Karlis Skrastins -Latvia, Ex-NHL player. Most recently with Dallas Stars.
Alexander Vasyunov - Russian, Ex-NHL player. Most recently with the New Jersey Devils.
Stefan Liv -Sweden, Gold Medal winner in the Turin Olympics, Drafted by the Detroit Red Wings.
Jan Marek - Czech, Gold Medal winner at the 2010 World Championships. Drafted by the New York Rangers.
Vitaly Anikienko - Taken in the 2005 NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators.
Ivan Tkachenko - Drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Also reported dead are players: Michail Baladnin, Oleksandr Alexander Vyukhin, Marat Kalimulin, Robert Dietrich, Alexander Kalyanin, Andrei Kiryukhin, Nikita Klyukin, Sergei Ostapchuk, Gennady Churilov, Artem Yarchuk, Yuri Urychev, Daniil Sobchenko as well as eight crew members.
Alexander Galimov - Russian player. Alive but in a coma according to his agent via Russia's Sovetsky Sport. According to Sovetsky Sport, he is not likely to survive.
One crew member
Update: 4:35 pm.