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NHL mourns death of Kobe Bryant

Former NBA star, daughter among those killed in helicopter crash @NHLdotcom

Kobe Bryant's death on Sunday sent shockwaves across the hockey world.

The former NBA star, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles. 

Bryant, who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and is the league's fourth all-time leading scorer with 33,643 points, was 41 years old.

"I was hoping it was not true," forward Alex Ovechkin said after the Washington Capitals practiced in Montreal. "You don't want to hear somebody (is in a) crash in a helicopter and passes away. It's tough. I know him, he always treated me well when he saw me. It's hard. He was a legend in the basketball world, in the whole world. I still can't believe it.

"I met him three or four times after games. He always shook my hand, he knows who I am. I remember when I was in the stands and he'd point to me. It's hard, it's hard."

Tweet from @ovi8: I���m so heartbroken. cant believe...Blessed to have chance to meet you. RIP Legend. 🙏🙏🙏

Wayne Gretzky, the NHL's all-time leading scorer who played eight seasons with the Los Angeles Kings from 1988-1996, expressed his condolences on Twitter.

Tweet from @WayneGretzky: Janet and I have no words to describe our shock and sadness on the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant today. Praying for him and his family. 🙏

Current Kings captain Anze Kopitar also tweeted out his condolences.

Tweet from @AnzeKopitar: Rest In Peace legend!!! Thoughts and prayers are with Bryant family🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 #MambaForever

The NHL released the following statement on Bryant:

"The National Hockey League offers its condolences to the family of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, and to the families and friends of all those who tragically perished today."

Video: WSH@LAK: Kobe caught on the kiss cam at Kings game

Other NHL players, alumni and executives took to Twitter upon hearing the news.

Tweet from @91Tavares: Kobe didn���t just inspire basketball players, but all athletes including myself. His passion for the game, desire for competition and pursuit of greatness was very inspiring. Never take any moment for granted. #RIPMambaAndGianna Condolences to all families involved.

Tweet from @PKSubban1: Shocked and in complete disbelief... A father, husband, legend, and idol gone way too soon. Thank you for the time, the lessons, and 20 years of greatness. #ripmamba🐍

Tweet from @43_Kadri: I always wanted to be like you. Praying for you and your family through these tough times. RIP mamba @kobebryant

Tweet from @bookerT2116: Shocked and saddened by the news about Kobe today. A cultural titan in his time. His mentality and presence will live on. Condolences to his family as I can���t imagine what they are going thru losing him and their daughter. #RIPMAMBA

Tweet from @28CGiroux: I���ve always wanted to be like you. Not only as a player but also as a person. You represent everything that is great about sports. #RIPKobe

Tweet from @strome18: Beyond tragic. No words at all. RIP Kobe and the other victims. Prayers to the families and all involved 💔 😢

Tweet from @MartinBrodeur: Sad to hear of the passing of Kobe Bryant. A champion on and off the court. My condolences to the Bryant Family and those effected by today���s events. #Kobe

Tweet from @TedLeonsis: The world weeps, the basketball community mourns. Kobe is the GOAT ��� Beloved and respected by all. Stunned and shaken to our core.

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