i love hockey and i love russia. russia and canada are the two national teams i follow in worlds and the olympics. i started watching Kontinental Hockey League games online last season when my beloved nabby (and alexei semenov!) played for CKA. i love russian hockey players; i have been very vocal in my support of ilya kovalchuk
‘s face, nabby, and of course i am fascinated by ovi. i was overjoyed when the sharks drafted a russian in this year’s NHL draft. i put a picture of him on facebook that weekend and proclaimed that i was ready for danushenka sobchenko to come to san jose!
on tuesday night, my lovely boyfriend showed me an article about my dear sobchenko. i mused that i wish i had seen him play when he was here in san jose and called our GM a “russian-hating whoreface” cos he’s never before drafted a russian player. now i’m glad i didn’t see him play, that i didn’t have a greater connection to him. because four hours after i read that article, sobchenko and 35 of his teammates were dead.
i awoke to a text from my friend derrick that a plane carrying a KHL team had crashed, but he only said that pavol demitra was on the plane. i immediately read twitter feeds and learned it was yaroslavl lokomotiv. the team from the article the night prior, the team daniil sobchenko was on. and he was on the plane.
all day, i was stuck in an infinite loop of reading the twitter feeds of @dchesnokov and @slavamalamud (both of whom went above and beyond in this situation, providing so much information despite both having personal and professional connections to the team), checking at english-language russian news sources, then russian sources, crying, and hitting refresh on twitter. over and over, all day. i finished my wednesday night with the most emotional blog post from a stranger i have ever read about a family of one of the deceased (it has since been removed, and it should have been because it was broadcasting personal information acquired in confidence–however, i didn’t even think about that when i read it). in short, wednesday felt like 24-hour marathon of extreme emotions. my whole day felt like an oprah special. it was tough.
at times it seemed so silly to be distraught over these strangers i’d never met. the strength of any connection through hockey cannot be understated–our club is one of misfits and magicians, fans and athletes alike. we all understand the joy, the rush, the pain, how much it takes from and gives to you. it’s a love that’s wholly understood by those who share it. it’s impossible to not feel connected to these men.
thursday was better; i listened to sad russian folk music and only cried a few times. on friday i remarked that i hadn’t cried about the crash all day, and my boyfriend and i talked a little bit about it. i then realised it was time to get over the initial shock and sadness and grieve more appropriately. i have heard rumblings of a fund being established for the families that were left behind, and would love any credible information on that if anyone has some.
this tragedy has taught me a few things. one, about the NHL emergency rehabilitation plan, similar to what the KHL has (the team president has decided the lokomotiv team will not play this year). the fact that russian air travel blows was reiterated. i hope that the people who have heard about this event will come to know that russians and slavs in general are a tough people, the toughest you can imagine. they are from a place that has seen incredible changes over the last hundred years, endured more war and struggle than anywhere else in the west, and yet they endure i have the utmost respect for them.
during the writing of this post, RT.com has posted that alexander galimov, the only player to survive the crash, has passed away in hospital. rest in peace brother galimov, and all of the lokomotiv players and staff. скорбим и помним.