SBD/September 9, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Plane Crash Makes Hockey Players Even More Hesitant About KHL

After the plane crash in Russia on Wednesday that killed all but one player from the KHL Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team, "some player agents are musing that the KHL, which draws nearly a third of its rosters from foreign shores, will have a tough time attracting imports,” according to Sean Gordon of the GLOBE & MAIL. Massachusetts-based agent Matt Keator, who repped late Lokomotiv star and former NHLer Pavol Demitra, said, “I think people are going to be more cautious about signing over there, definitely. I know I’m going to be seeking a lot of assurances that teams are spending more money on player and transportation safety.” California-based agent Scott Norton, who represents several KHL players, said, “Obviously there will be some concerns, but like everything else, I think it will pass with time.” Daniel Corso, “one of the few dozen Canadians playing in the KHL,” said that he was “devastated by news of the crash, and that he is pondering whether to carry on playing.” The league still is scheduled to kick off its season next week, and KHL President Alexander Medvedev said on Thursday that “the league will shortly hold a dispersal draft to rebuild” Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/9). Former NHL G Manny Legace, who played in Russia during the ’04-05 NHL lockout, said, “It would have to be for a lot of money. ... You just hear a lot of stories about guys not getting paid (in Russia). You’re not sure about inspections and who they’re paying off” (DETROIT NEWS, 9/9).

SUMMER OF SADNESS: Three current or recently retired NHLers died earlier this summer, and in Toronto, Damien Cox wrote, "There is little else the world of hockey can hope for after an off-season filled with mourning and pain than to hope good comes from such a cumulative destruction. ... Such an extraordinary succession of body blows. Death and brain injuries. Whatever happened to the simpler days of torn knee ligaments and fall hold outs?” (TORONTO STAR, 9/8). Also in Toronto, Steve Simmons wrote, “This summer of hockey sorrow and devastation can’t end soon enough. ... There has never been an off-season like this one in the hockey world, with so much sadness” (TORONTO SUN, 9/8).

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