Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Plane Crash Claims Two Former Predators

This has just been a horrific summer for the global ice hockey community. Already reeling from the deaths of three active or recently-retired NHL players (Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak), the hockey world today learned of a plane crash in Russia that claimed all but one member of the HC Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team of the Kontinental Hockey League, which included several former NHL all-stars.

Among those killed in the crash are former Nashville Predators players Josef Vasicek and Karlis Skrantins, which coupled with the untimely death of Belak one week ago, means that in the course of eight days, this franchise has lost three of its former players. Also killed in today's crash was defenseman Robert Dietrich, who was drafted by the Predators and played two years with the Milwaukee Admirals (and a few preseason games for the Preds). Prior to this week, only one former Predator had passed away (Sergei Zholtok to natural causes in 2004).

As we inch closer to another exciting season of Predators hockey, let's pause and reflect on these players who helped create an electric atmosphere at 501 Broadway, and whose lives were brought to a far-too-early end.

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