Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What will happen to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl now?

I have many pet peeves, but one of them is when I hear something like this:

We have just heard of a tragedy in which over 100 people died, including 3 Americans. We remember those 3 Americans...

Something like that is going on right now here, in which United States news outlets are reporting that "former NHL players" have died in a plane crash in Russia, along with other people.

Basically what happened is that a team plane for the Russian hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl has crashed. As I write this, reports are that 43 of the 45 people on board died.

So while people are wondering about this or that former NHL star, I began wondering - what will happen to the league in which Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plays?

Not just the team - the league. I know nothing of Russian hockey, so I turned to Wikipedia for more information. (Needless to say, the Wikipedia page will probably undergo constant updates over the next few days.) According to the Wikipedia writers, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl was founded in 1949 and currently plays in the Kontinental Hockey League. They have won three championships recently (1997, 2002, and 2003), and this team, along with the 23 other teams in the Kontinental Hockey League, were all getting ready to start the 2011-2012 season.

The league has postponed the beginning of the season, including halting a game that was already in progress, but as I write this I don't know what's going to happen next. At this point, one of its teams is unable to field a roster of players. Presumably they could quickly sign some people to contracts, but the quality wouldn't be good. This could harm the league as a whole, since no one would go to see away games from a hopeless team.

Will the league hold a supplemental draft to allow Lokomotiv Yaroslavl to draft players from other teams? This may be the best solution for league viability - and, of course, the viability of the team itself.
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