Washington Capitals star player and captain Alex Ovechkin is an intense and emotional player on the ice, and we are aware of how much of the same he is off the ice, especially today. Before he heads out to the rink for a game, Ovehckin brings along a lot of his past: his jersey number from the KHL is written on his shoulder pads, his late brother’s name is stitched into his gloves, and he wears a patch commemorating Lokomotiv Yaroslavl on his chest protector, which he has worn since 2014.
On today, Sept.7, it was a tough day for the Caps captain. Today is the seventh anniversary of that Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash, which claimed the lives of 43 members of the KHL team.
Coach Brad McCrimmon, forward Pavol Demitra, defenseman Ruslan Salei, forward Josef Vasicek, defenseman Karel Rachunek, forward Jan Marek, forward Alexander Vasyunov, defenseman Karlis Skrastins and goalie Stefan Liv are among the fatalities.
"I lost a lot of friends this summer,” Ovechkin said quietly back in 2011 to the Globe and Mail. “I had a lot of situations this summer. This … this was just one of them. Anything can happen in this world. It just happens that those were friends, who do the same job I do. It’s a huge tragedy and loss but … you never know when and you never know how.”
Ovechkin lost his close friend, Russian forward Alexander Galimov, who suffered burns across 80 percent of his body. He first survived the crash, but died five days after the tragic crash from the serious injuries.
“I played with him when I was a little kid and again on national team, junior,” said Ovechkin at the time of the crash. “It’s kind of a scary moment. A whole national tragedy.”
On Friday, Ovechkin posted remembrance of Lokomotiv on his Instagram account, a photo on Instagram with three praying hands emoji and the text “Remember.”
There are a lot of positive things for Ovechkin to focus on. He not only won the Stanley Cup for the first time of his career in June, but also became a first-time father a few weeks later. Ovechkin has a lot of great things around him, with the prestigious trophy before his wife Anastasia gave birth to a son, Sergei Aleksandrovich Ovechkin.
Still, on this tough day, we think of him at this difficult time...