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Russian Plane Crashes, Hockey Team On Board Includes NHL Veterans

Rescuers work at the crash site of a Russian Yak-42 jet near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles northeast of Moscow. i

Rescuers work at the crash site of a Russian Yak-42 jet near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles northeast of Moscow. Misha Japaridze/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Misha Japaridze/AP
Rescuers work at the crash site of a Russian Yak-42 jet near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles northeast of Moscow.

Rescuers work at the crash site of a Russian Yak-42 jet near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles northeast of Moscow.

Misha Japaridze/AP

There's no word yet on exactly who was on board today when a Russian passenger jet crashed near the city of Yaroslavl, reportedly killing more than 40 people. One, or possibly two, people may have survived.

What is known, according to media reports, is that the plane was carrying members of Lokomotiv, an elite professional hockey team based in Yaroslavl.

That team's roster, as The Hockey News reports, includes several players with National Hockey League experience. The name most familiar to hockey fans is probably Pavol Demitra of Slovakia, who spent time with the Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks between 1993 and 2010.

Also on the team: Ruslan Salei of Belarus, who last season played for the Detroit Red Wings, and Josef Vasicek of the Czech Republic, who was on the Carolina Hurricanes' Stanley Cup championship team in 2006.

Lokomotiv's coach has a name known to many NHL fans: Canadian Brad McCrimmon played in the league for 18 years, the Times Colonist of Victoria & Vancouver Island writes.

Hockey News adds that "the team was heading to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursday against Dynamo Minsk in the opening game of the season of the Kontinental Hockey League. The CHL is a league of several ex-Soviet countries."

Update at 1:55 p.m. ET: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman issued a statement saying "this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world — including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends who at one time excelled in our league," CBC News reports.

Update at 12:45 p.m. ET: The Canadian Press says it has confirmed with the Kontinental Hockey League that McCrimmon was killed.

Update at 12:10 p.m. ET. The Associated Press now reports that at least 43 people were killed and two were critically injured. And, it adds:

"Officials said Russian player Alexander Galimov survived the crash along with a crewmember. Eleven foreign players were reportedly onboard the jet. A Czech embassy official said Czech players Josef Vasicek, Karel Rachunek and Jan Marek were among those killed, and Latvian officials confirmed the death of Latvian defenseman Karlis Skrastins."

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