Column: Remembering Team Lokomotiv

By Brittany Burke

It is safe to say that I am a bit of a hockey fan. You can imagine that when I woke up to a text alert saying the Kontinental Hockey League team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s plane had crashed my heart broke and I couldn’t imagine writing this column on anything else.

The jet carrying the team crashed last Wednesday, killing 44 people and leaving one injured. On that plane was Brad McCrimmon, a former NHL Bruin, Whaler and Flame. He was accompanied by ex-NHL athletes such as Pavol Demitra who once played for the LA Kings, while ending his career with the Vancouver Canucks and former Ranger Alexander Karpovtsev.

The tragedy turned the hockey world upside down and the only thing I could think to compare it to would be the Marshall University crash in the 1970s.

All day last Wednesday I read Facebook posts and articles of fans and writers sending their thoughts to the families that had been affected by what had happened, and while I never followed the KHL, it was still heart-wrenching.

I personally felt that the crash was the biggest sports story of the day. Yes, I understand not many people in America truly follow the KHL, but the fact that 40 plus athletes are now dead far before their time is something that should be addressed. Even if the sole purpose of the report is to take a moment of silence.

So many different news outlets covered the sport; it even made MSN’s top stories. One place I didn’t see adequate coverage was on ESPN. ESPN is supposed to be the world’s leader in sports and yet something as detrimental as this couldn’t even crack its top five stories for the day. Yes, there was a clip about it but even as I write this I am only able to find a few blog posts on the matter.

I understand that ESPN doesn’t cover much hockey to begin with, unless the words Stanley Cup and Sidney Crosby are attached to the story, and I understand the next day was the start of the 2011 football season. I even understand that Peyton Manning dominated the headlines because it was uncertain if he would be able to play, but that doesn’t stop my disappointment.

This has been the saddest offseason of any sport as far as I can remember, and it is something that should have been addressed better; not that the story wasn’t covered elsewhere.

It seems as if there has been one death a month this entire summer, ending with the deaths of Lokomotiv. At the beginning of the season Derek Boogard was discovered dead, followed by Rick Rypien and then most recently Wade Belak.

It is always hard to lose somebody so suddenly, whether it is someone you know personally or even an athlete that you’ve only ever seen on TV.

So many people love sports and all these men died because of the sport they loved, so it is best to remember them and keep their memories alive.