Skip to main content

Teams honor those who passed with patches, decals

NHL.com @NHL
The National Hockey League lost numerous active and former players this summer, and many teams that had affiliations to those players have already released their plans to honor them during the 2011-12 season.

Ruslan Salei, Karlis Skrastins and Josef Vasicek were among those lost in the Sept. 7 plane crash that killed 37 members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team in the Kontinental Hockey League. The Dallas Stars, for whom Skrastins played the past two seasons, will wear a helmet decal with his No. 37, while the Carolina Hurricanes will remember Vasicek, a member of their 2006 Stanley Cup team, with a patch bearing his No. 63 on the sleeve of their jerseys.

Pavel Datsyuk is paying tribute to his former teammate Ruslan Salei by wearing his No. 24 this preseason. (Photo: Justin K. Aller /Getty Images)
Salei played last season for the Detroit Red Wings, and teammate Pavel Datsyuk is paying tribute to his former teammate by wearing his No. 24 this preseason. Datsyuk will resume wearing his traditional No. 13 once the regular season begins. The gesture has already gained notice on Twitter, with one user tweeting, "Touching to see Datsyuk wear number 24 … Classy, classy move by a classy veteran," and another tweeting, "Datsyuk is a beauty" with the hashtag #classact.

The Anaheim Ducks, who made Salei a first-round pick 15 years ago, intend to wear a uniform patch honoring him. Salei played his first nine NHL seasons with the franchise.

The Red Wings also have plans to honor Lokomotiv coach Brad McCrimmon, an assistant to Mike Babcock in Detroit for the past three seasons, with a patch on their jerseys.

The Colorado Avalanche have designed a helmet decal to remember three former members of their organization: Salei, Skrastins and fellow defenseman Wade Belak, who died on Aug. 31. The decal features a black ribbon with the initials "WB," "KS" and "RS" on it.

Belak finished his NHL career last season with the Nashville Predators, who designed a helmet decal in their team colors of blue and yellow. Belak's No. 3 is in the center with the word "TOGETHER" printed across the top and Belak's initials below.

The Winnipeg Jets will wear a helmet decal with the initials "RR" in tribute to forward Rick Rypien, who died Aug. 15. Rypien, who had several stints with the AHL Manitoba Moose during his days in the Vancouver Canucks' organization, had signed with the Jets as a free agent on July 1.

The New York Rangers also have a helmet decal designed to resemble the jersey of forward Derek Boogaard, who died on May 13. It features Boogaard's name and the No. 94 he wore this past season after signing with New York.

Helmet decals have also been designed by the Calgary Flames in remembrance of former owner Harley Hotchkiss and the Hurricanes to honor former building manager Donnie MacMillan.
View More