While members of the Canadian National Junior Team have had plenty to think about prior to their meeting with Russia in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge, the sport of hockey was put on hold Wednesday, less than 24 hours before the series opener.
Yaroslavl, the host Russian city for the Challenge series, lost its entire KHL team in a tragic plane crash 11 months ago. The Sept. 7 crash of the Yak-42 plane near Yaroslavl in central Russia killed 36 players, coaches and staff of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team. The only player who survived the crash later died of burns. A flight engineer was the sole survivor.
On Wednesday, Canadian and Russian national team players and coaches took part in a memorial ceremony for those victims, lining up in front of the newly built hockey arena, Neftestroy, where locals have been placing flowers ever since the accident. Huge banners were displayed with photos of players and staff that perished in the accident.