By Bill Burt
Former Boston Bruin Brad McCrimmon was killed in a plane crash in Yaroslavl, Russia earlier morning.
McCrimmon was among 42 people that died from the crash near the Volga River, 150 miles northeast of Moscow. Three people, all in critical condition, survived.
McCrimmon, 52, was the head coach of Lokomotiv, a professional hockey team based in Yaroslav. The entire team was on the plane, which had just left the airport in Yaroslavl, headed for Minsk, Belrus for a scheduled game on Thursday night. It is believed one of the survivors was a Lokomotiv player.
According to reports, the weather was sunny and clear at the time. Problems with the flight began soon after takeoff, according to reports.
The KHL is an international club league that features teams from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Slovakia.
Former Bruin teammate Ray Bourque was contacted this morning about the news but didn't want to elaborate.
"I've always been in contact with Brad over the years. We were close. We came in together," said Bourque. "I hope it's not true."
Bourque and McCrimmon with both drafted in the first round by the Bruins in 1979. Bourque was chosen 8th overall and McCrimmon was chosen 15th overall.
McCrimmon was dealt away to the Philadelphia Flyers after only three seasons. The controversial deal netted the Bruins goalie Pete Peters.
McCrimmon played 18 seasons for Boston, Philadelphia, Calgary, Detroit, Hartford and Phoenix, tallying 403 points in 1,222 regular season games.
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is seen as a top team in Russian hockey and finished third in the KHL last year. Its roster includes several international stars in its ranks, such as Stefan Liv of Sweden and Czech Republic players Josef Vaicek and Jan Marek.
It wasn't immediately clear which players were on board on Wednesday.
"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.
Lokomotiv was a three-time Russian League champion in 1997, 2002 and 2003. It took bronze last season.
President Dmitry Medvedev has announced plans to take aging Soviet-built planes out of service starting next year. The short- and medium-range Yak-42 has been in service since 1980 and dozens are still in service with Russian and other airlines.
In June, another Russian passenger jet crashed in the northwestern city of Petrozavodsk, killing 47 people. The crash of that Tu-134 plane has been blamed on pilot error.
Associated Press contributed to this report.