Winnipeg native and former NHLer Bryan Muir, who also played hockey in Russia, said flying on planes in that country was often a frightening experience.
“I said a little prayer every single time,” said Muir, who played in the Russian league in 2008.
North American players talked and worried about the old planes and equipment all the time, he said.Bryan Muir, seen in 2006 with Washington, said he prayed every time he was on a Russian plane because he was so worried they might not be safe. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
A plane carrying the Kontinental Hockey League's Lokomotiv team from Yaroslavl to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, crashed Wednesday and killed 43 people.
The victims included several ex-NHLers. Among them was Lokomotiv coach Brad McCrimmon, a Saskatchewan native who once played for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.
The Wheat Kings are owned by McCrimmon's Brother, Kelly.
McCrimmon, 52, was also an assistant coach with the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers, which recently moved to Winnipeg and became the Jets.
"I think of the families and the people that have been touched by, you know, hockey in general this summer," said Muir, referring to the recent deaths of three players.
In May, Derek Boogaard died from a combination of too many painkillers and alcohol.
Rick Rypien, was found dead in his home in Alberta on Aug.15, an apparent suicide, and, most recently, Wade Belak was found dead in a Toronto hotel on Aug. 31.
"This has been a tough, tough summer for the sport of hockey. And now for this tragedy to happen right at the beginning of the season, it's such a hard one to take,” said Muir, a journeyman defenceman who played stints for the New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and the Washington Capitals.
He won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001.
In the KHL, he played for HC Dinamo Minsk.
The plane was carrying the Lokomotiv team on Wednesday was scheduled to play Thursday against Dinamo Minsk in the opening game of the season.