Article

Messier, Gretzky pay tribute to Yaroslavl

9 September 2012 15:39

The world of ice hockey commemorated the death of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team in Russia on Friday, a year after the tragic event.

The Yaroslavl players were en route to their first game of the Kontinental Hockey League season in Belarus when their plane crashed on September 7 last year.

A morning church service was followed by a flower-laying ceremony, attended by some of the most prominent figures in ice hockey.

A commemorative monument has been built at the site of the crash.

Ice hockey fans from across the world arrived in the city to witness the jerseys of the victims being raised at the team's arena.

A game between legends from the Canadian and Russian national hockey teams was played in the evening to pay tribute to the victims of the tragedy.

"The tragedy that struck here with this team would have affected everybody in the hockey world," former NHL player Mark Messier said.

"We are all brothers in one way or another because we all love the game of hockey. When you see something like what had happened it is very tough for everybody across the world."

Wayne Gretzky, widely considered one of the best hockey players of all time, was also in attendance.

"It is really unfortunate that we are here for such a sorry occasion," Gretzky said.

"But hopefully we can put some smiles on some people's faces to enjoy the game tonight and think about the great experiences that we have all been fortunate enough to have in the game of hockey."

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