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Russian Hockey Team Plane Crash Deals Blow To Phoenix Coyotes

A plane crash in Russia took the life of former Phoenix Coyotes Brian McCrimmon and Igor Koralev Wednesday.

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A Yak-42 jet plane carrying a Russian hockey team crashed on the banks of the Volga River Wednesday, killing at least 43 people on board outside the city of Yaroslavl, Russia, about 150 miles northeast of Moscow. Amongst them was their head coach and former Phoenix Coyote Brian McCrimmon, as well assistant Igor Koralev, who also spent time with the Coyotes as well.

The plane hit the river bank just minutes after takeoff, during a trip to take the Locomotiv Yaroslavi squad to Minsk for a game in the Kontinental Hockey League on Thursday. Two people are known to have survived the crash, but the status of Igor Koralev is still to be determined.

McCrimmon had been an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings for the past three seasons before taking the job with the Locomotiv. The former first-round draft choice of the Boston Bruins in 1979, the defensemen McCrimmon won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989. He would go on to play 37 games with Phoenix to wrap up his career in 1997 season, while his teammate Koralev played 41 games with the Coyotes that season.

"We will do our best to ensure that hockey in Yaroslavl does not die, and that it continues to live for the people that were on that plane," said Russian Ice Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretyak.