KHL filled with Greed not Grief

By Steve Palumbo

Less than a day after the Yak-42 jet carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club of the Kontinental Hockey League crashed killing all but one of it’s players, the league has vowed to rebuild the team in time for the 2011-12 season. The hasty decision to resume business as usual has me wondering how much of a role money is playing in this.

The hockey world has yet to fully deal with the loss of an entire team, many of them much beloved ex-NHL stars. However, less than 24 hours later, KHL chief Alexander Medvedev is asking each team in the league to volunteer up to three players each toward building a new Lokomotiv squad.

Are you serious? Are we supposed to hurry up and forget?

It would seem to me that the league has bigger things to worry about than rebuilding a team devastated by the leagues’ own substandard operations. It’s shockingly clear the KHL is putting the dollar before the person. How else do you explain chartering 30 year old planes with a checkered history? According to, Wednesday’s crash would be the fourth disaster involving a Yak-42 since 1982.

This is exactly why the players should think twice before leaving the NHL and bolting for the Russian league. The speed in which this decision was made comes across as uncaring and lacks respect for the loved one of those killed. Not to mention how this will affect the players that will have to pull the Lokomotiv jersey over their head days after the entire squad was lost. How can they play under these circumstances?

Rebuilding a team just days after it’s catastrophic demise is not an act of strength and perseverance, but more like a calculated attempt to cover-up the leagues own short comings served with a side of pure greed. Any money made from ticket sales should go to charities set up in honor of the fallen players or else you might as well call it “blood money.”

I can’t imagine any fan of Russian hockey, especially the Lokomotiv faithful, complaining if the team halted operations for the entire season. Instead of rebuilding the decimated program this year, the league should remember the men that died and focus on ensuring players safety, especially when flying.

What do you think? Money or Memory? Your comments below!

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