(Reuters) - A passenger plane carrying a Russian ice hockey team to a season-opening match crashed after takeoff from a provincial airport on Wednesday, killing 43 people and leaving two survivors in grave condition.
The crash of the Yak-42 aircraft , whose victims included foreign stars playing for the Kontinental Hockey League team Lokomotiv. Among the dead is former Detroit Red Wings assistant coach 52-year-old Brad McCrimmon, who was the Lokomotiv's head coach. McCrimmon was with the Red Wings for three seasons, leaving the team last year.
The Russian-made plane was carrying 37 passengers and eight crew to Minsk in Belarus when it crashed a few kilometers from the airport at Tunoshna outside Yaroslavl, 250 km (150 miles) north of Moscow, the Emergencies Ministry said.
Former Kings forward Pavol Demitra and former Ducks defenseman Ruslan Salei were among 43 people killed.
Three Czech world champions, a legendary Slovak player and Swedish goaltender Stefan Liv were killed, officials said.
The Czech players were Jan Marek, Karel Rachunek and Josef Vasicek, all stars of the national side that won the world championship six times since 1996, the Czech embassy in Moscow said.
The Slovak foreign ministry said there was one Slovak victim, and that the only Slovak national on the passenger list was Pavol Demitra, a forward who led the national side at last year's World Championship.
"This is the darkest day in the history of our sport," International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel said in a statement posted on the federation website www.iihf.com.
"This is not only a Russian tragedy, the Lokomotiv roster included players and coaches from ten nations."
Lokomotiv's head coach is Canadian former Detroit Red Wings assistant Brad McCrimmon, according to the KHL.
Two people survived and were hospitalized, ministry official Sergei Miroshnichenko said. Lokomotiv offenceman Alexander Galimov was in critical condition with burns over 90 percent of his body, a doctor at the hospital said.
The plane was carrying players, coaches and officials members of Lokomotiv, which is based in Yaroslavl, to a match in Minsk.