(WXYZ) - The Russian Emergency Ministry is now confirming that both former Detroit Red Wings Ruslan Salei and Brad McCrimmon and prospect Stefan Liv were killed in a deadly plane crash.
This comes after the Red Wings confirmed that former assistant coach and player, Brad McCrimmon was on board a flight with his hockey team when it crashed in Russia on Wednesday.
McCrimmon was the head coach of the Lokomotiv ice hockey team. They were travelling from Yaroslavl to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, when the plane crashed. Forty-three people were killed.
Head coach Mike Babcock and team captain Nick Lidstrom spoke with reporters at Joe Louis Arena regarding the tragedy.
"I know that Brad McCrimmon was on the flight, but that's all I know. Obviously it's a tough day out here," said Babcock.
Nick Lidstrom says the team was hit hard by the news. Pavel Datsyuk delivered the tragic news to the Red Wings team before practice at the Joe. The players went home for the day.
"Our thougts and prayers go out to the family," said Lidstrom.
NHL.com cites reports saying the entire main roster, plus others were on the plane. Salei also plays for the Lokomotiv hockey team.
Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the NHL, released the following statement:
"Though it occurred thousands of miles away from our home arenas, this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world -- including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends who at one time excelled in our League. Our deepest condolences go to the families and loved ones of all who perished.”
Below is an article by the Associated Press:
TUNOSHNA, Russia (AP) -- A private jet carrying a Russian professional hockey team to its first game of the season crashed shortly after takeoff Wednesday, killing 43 people - including European and former NHL players - in one of the worst aviation disasters in sports history. Two people survived the accident.
The crash also was the latest tragedy to befall the sport of hockey - following the sudden, offseason deaths of three of the NHL's tough-guy enforcers that has shocked fans.
The chartered Yak-42 jet was carrying the team - Lokomotiv Yaroslavl - to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursday in its opening game of the Kontinental Hockey League season. Of the 45 people on board, 36 were players, coaches and team officials; eight were crew.
The plane apparently struggled to gain altitude and then hit a signal tower before breaking apart along the Volga River near Yaroslavl, 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow. One of the blue-and-white plane's charred engines poked through the surface of the shallow water.
"This is the darkest day in the history of our sport," said Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation. "This is not only a Russian tragedy - the Lokomotiv roster included players and coaches from 10 nations."
One player - identified as Russian Alexander Galimov - and one unidentified crew member were hospitalized in "very grave" condition, said Alexander Degyatryov, chief doctor at Yaroslavl's Solovyov Hospital.
Among the dead were Lokomotiv coach and NHL veteran Brad McCrimmon, a Canadian; assistant coach Alexander Karpovtsev, one of the first Russians to have his name etched on the Stanley Cup as a member of the New York Rangers; and Pavol Demitra, who played for the St. Louis Blues and the Vancouver Canucks and was the Slovakian national team captain.
Other standouts killed were Czech players Josef Vasicek, Karel Rachunek and Jan Marek, Swedish goalie Stefan Liv, Latvian defenseman Karlis Skrastins and defenseman Ruslan Salei of Belarus.
Russian NHL star Alex Ovechkin reflected the anguish that resonated through the sport of hockey when he tweeted: "I'm in shock!!!!!R.I.P."
"Though it occurred thousands of miles away from our home arenas, this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world - including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.
The NHL already has been mourning three unexpected deaths of players in recent months, including a suicide and an accidental drug overdose.
The cause of the crash was not immediately apparent, but Russian news agencies cited local officials as saying it may have been due to technical problems. The plane was built in 1993 and belonged to a small Moscow-based company, Yak Service.
In recent years, Russia and the other former Soviet republics have had some of the world's worst air traffic safety records. Experts blame the age of the aircraft, weak government controls, poor pilot training and a cost-cutting mentality.
Divers worked feverishly to recover bodies in a search operation that lasted well into the night. They struggled to heft the bodies of large, strong athletes in stretchers up the muddy, steep riverbank.
Swarms of police and rescue crews rushed to Tunoshna, a ramshackle village with small wooden houses and a blue-domed