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Wives to sell Lokomotiv wristbands

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings wives will be selling Love for Lokomotiv wristbands on the JLA concourse at Friday's season-opener.
DETROIT – The pain for the 44 families that lost loved ones in last month’s ill-fated flight of a Russian jetliner that carried the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team is immeasurable.


So when Annika Lidstrom learned of a fund-raising movement to help those hockey families financially cope with losing husbands and fathers, she quickly jumped on-board.

“I think everybody was feeling the same thing,” said Annika, the wife of Red Wings’ captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “We wanted to help out in some way, because everyone in the hockey world felt connected to them with everything that they were going through. We wanted to try and do something for them.”

On that fateful day, the Red Wings lost three dear friends – defenseman Ruslan Salei, former goalie prospect Stefan Liv, and former player and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, who had accepted the Lokomotiv head coaching job this summer.
 
Spearheaded by Annika Lidstrom and Julie Draper, the Wings’ wives will do their part to support the victims’ families by selling Love for Lokomotiv silicone wristbands at Friday’s season-opening game against the Ottawa Senators at Joe Louis Arena.

The wristbands will be sold for $10 each (cash only), and can be purchased Friday night on the east-end concourse behind Section 114.

Through a partnership with the Phoenix Coyotes Charities, a few NHL wives designed the debossed wristbands, which will be sold at all 23 U.S.-based NHL arenas. Kodette LaBarbera, wife of Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera, and Katerina Jokinen, wife of Calgary center Olli Jokinen, devised the fund-raising idea.

“Kodette came up with the idea,” Annika Lidstrom said. “Everyone thought it was a great idea, and it took off from there. It’s kind of easy to get a hold of everybody from different teams, and I think everyone was excited to get involved in this project.”

The wives group also designed a prayer bracelet – in adult ($50) and kids ($25) sizes – made of semi-precious jade beads available at LoveforLokomotiv.com. The wristbands are also available for purchase on the Web site.

It’s been said that time heals all wounds. But the reality is those wounds are only healed by scar tissue that masks the pain.

Because of their closeness, the pain that the McCrimmon family has – and will continue – to experience, will resonate with the Lidstroms for a very long time.

McCrimmon, 52, played 18 NHL seasons with six different teams, including the Red Wings from 1990-93, and was also a Wings’ assistant coach for the last three seasons. He left behind a wife, Maureen, and two children; daughter Carlin, and son Liam.

Red Wings coaches and wives will wear special ribbons in the Lokomotiv team colors at Friday's season-opener.
Brad McCrimmon was Lidstrom’s first defensive partner when the then 21-year-old Swede arrived in Detroit. Over the years they become good friends, which naturally made it easy for their wives to establish a kinship.

Perhaps the most difficult thing to deal with in a tragedy of this magnitude is not having family immediately near by, Annika said.

“Oh my goodness, at first we couldn’t believe that it was actually happening,” Annika said. “It’s such an unreal thing to hear. It’s just shocking news and difficult to believe. It’s very sad.

“Especially, for Maureen and the kids, not having the family close by when they found out. We could all feel how hard it was not to have that close family right here next to you. It’s so important for us to show each other that support.”

All the money raised will go to Lokomotiv families through a partnership with Coyotes Charities and the Arizona Community Foundation.

As a show of support, the Wings coaches, and wives, will wear special ribbons in the Lokomotiv team colors at Friday's season-opening game.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill


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