Minsk Arena was going to be the site of one of the first games of the Kontinental Hockey League season, but instead it became the place for a moving tribute to the deceased members of Yaroslavl Lokomotiv.
Lokomotiv was en route to the Belarusian capital city for a season-opening game against Dinamo Minsk when the plane carrying 45 people, including the majority of the team’s players and staff, crashed Wednesday shortly after takeoff and all but two on board perished. Several former NHL players were among those who died.
Dinamo Minsk decided to pay its respects by having a memorial service Thursday night at the arena. Thirty-seven portraits of the Lokomotiv players and staff were placed on the ice, and the Dinamo team skated out to stand by them in front of a capacity crowd of flower-bearing spectators, according to Russia Today.
Mass was performed with an orchestra on hand. There was a puck placed in front of each of the portraits, and the Dinamo players put each of them into one of the empty nets as a tribute. There were also many collections of flowers placed at the opposite end in the other empty net.
There will be a memorial service for the Lokomotiv players and staff Saturday at Arena 2000 in Yaroslavl.