RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team will honor the memory of former player Josef Vasicek with a patch on its sweaters throughout the 2011-12 season. Vasicek was one of 44 people to die in a Sept. 7 plane crash outside of Yaroslavl, Russia, including 28 players, two coaches and seven staff members of the Lokomotiv ice hockey club.
In addition to the patch, the team will pay tribute to Vasicek prior to its Oct. 7 regular-season home opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the RBC Center. The Hurricanes are also planning to create a display in the players’ lounge in the locker room, celebrating Vasicek’s life and contributions to the franchise.
“We are deeply saddened that Josef is no longer with us, and feel that it is important to remember and honor his life,” said Rutherford. “A part of both of our teams that reached the Stanley Cup Final, he played an important role in helping us establish our footing as a franchise in North Carolina. Beyond that, he was respected and well-liked by all, and we continue to hear from fans whose lives Josef touched. He is greatly missed.”
Vasicek, 30, was about to begin his fourth season in the KHL with Lokomotiv. He finished his NHL career with 77 goals and 106 assists (183 points) in 460 career games with Carolina, Nashville and the New York Islanders. In 341 games with the Hurricanes, he had 57 goals, 78 assists (135 points) and 229 penalty minutes. Vasicek skated in 37 Stanley Cup playoff games with Carolina, earning five goals and two assists (7 points). He was a member of the Hurricanes’ Eastern Conference championship teams in 2002 and 2006, and has his name on the Stanley Cup for the team’s 2006 title.