Three members of the New York Islander family were among the 43 people who tragically died when a plane carrying a Russian hockey team crashed immediately after takeoff Wednesday.
As names of the athletes involved in the horrific accident slowly trickled in, it was reported that former players, Josef Vasicek, Alexander Karpovtsev, and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, died in the devastating crash.
McCrimmon was the coach of the Lokomotiv ice hockey team on its way to play their season opener on Thursday.
The Yak-42 plane, which was carrying 37 passengers and eight-member crew, went down following takeoff from the city of Yaroslavi, which is about 150 miles north of Moscow.
According to Reuters, Interfax cited an official as saying the plane had trouble gaining altitude, hit an antenna near the runway and caught fire after the crash.
Two survived but were listed as critical, according to reports.
The Islanders said in a statement: “Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families that lost loved ones on that flight…We send our deepest sympathies to everyone who has been affected by this tragic event.”
Vasicek played in 81 games for the Islanders during the 2007-2008 season and scored 77 goals with 106 assists over his eight-year NHL career.
The Czech native was originally drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 1998 NHL Draft. He would’ve been 31 on Sept. 12.
Vasicek was set to begin his fourth season in the KHL with the Lokomotiv, after leaving the NHL.
Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said he was “deeply saddened” by the news of the crash, echoing what many in the NHL community said after the incident.
“Josef was a key part of the Hurricanes for six years, helping us achieve some of our greatest successes,” he said in a statement. “More importantly, he was a great teammate on and off the ice, and was respected as a person as well as a player.”
Karpovtsev, 41, played 12 seasons in the NHL, and appeared in three games for the Islanders during the 2003-2004 season.