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Sharks prospect Sobchenko killed in place crash
Several former NHL players also perish
9/7/11 - By Mike Lee -

With NHL training camps ready to open, the mood around the league took a somber turn with the news of a plane crash near Yaroslavl, Russia on Wednesday, killing 43 people, including 7 former NHL players. The plane was carrying primary roster players of the KHL's Lokomotiv club, which included Sharks prospect Daniil Sobchenko, who was drafted in the 6th round by the Sharks this past summer.

Former NHL players Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei, Karel Rachunek, Karlis Skrastins, Josef Vasicek and Brad McCrimmon were among the dead. McCrimmon served as a coach for Lokomotiv, having played six different NHL teams and coaching on four others.

Sharks General Manager, Doug Wilson, issued a statement regarding the crash.

"We are very saddened to report that the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has published a list stating that Sharks prospect Daniil Sobchenko was aboard the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane that crashed today in Yaroslavl, Russia. Daniil attended our development camp this past July and everyone on our staff agreed that he had a bright future with our organization. He was an amazing person with a fun-loving personality and his attitude and energy during his time in San Jose was infectious. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.

"This is a difficult day for the hockey world. Many people in our organization had existing relationships with other Lokomotiv players, coaches and staff members. We send our sincere condolences to their families as well."

The off-season has seen a flurry of deaths among former NHL players, casting one of the darkest clouds on the sport's history. Sobchenko's limited interaction with the Sharks was preceded by two seasons with Lokomotiv, where he played in 51 games, scoring 6 goals and adding a pair of assists. He played on Russia's World Junior Championship winning team earlier this year.

As a freshly drafted prospect, Sobchenko was unlikely to see any time at the NHL level prior to his death, but the Sharks had high hopes for the 20 year-old centerman. The native of Kiev was not attending San Jose's training camp, which opens for prospects on Friday.

Two people survived the crash, but suffered life threatening injuries. A spokesman for the hospital where the two survivors were being treated said their condition was "extremely grave."

Fans from several Eastern European cities held candlelight vigils for those that perished in the crash.


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