Russian Plane Crash

September 8, 2011 by staff 

Russian Plane CrashRussian Plane Crash, Riley Armstrong sparked a flurry of calls, messages and tweets Wednesday morning, asking if she was okay. Early news reports had the hockey player and passengers as possible in the Russian Yak-42 plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Yaroslavl, which killed 43 people.

Most of the dead were members of (KHL) Kontinental Hockey League Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, who were on their way to Minsk, Belarus, to open the KHL season.

But then another report said Armstrong was in San Juan.

It turns out that in the 26 years old, was in season at home in Saskatoon, but the head by the end of this month for a professional tryout with the San Juan, the polar caps of the American Hockey League.

“I was never on the computer (Lokomotiv). It’s funny, I do not know how he got my name associated with being on the list,” Armstrong said the telegram.

“I woke up to phone calls this morning. I think I had 10 missed calls,” he said. “It’s a little scary to think about it (but) very comforting to know that I have people who were thinking about me. … I did not realize how many friends you had, you know.”

Armstrong knew that some of the Lokomotiv players and the coach’s head, 52 years old, Brad McCrimmon, who died in the accident.

McCrimmon played 18 NHL seasons with six teams before moving behind the bench. He was an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings to take the job in Yaroslavl in May.

“I knew Brad McCrimmon to be Saskatoon. Pavol Demitra and play and … a couple of other players.’s Pretty sad. I’ve played more in the KHL,” said Armstrong, who spent part of last season with Astana Barys, a Kazakhstan-based team.

The tragedy on Wednesday added to what Armstrong called “a difficult summer for the hockey world, especially in Saskatchewan.”

Three NHLers who died suddenly in the last couple of months – Derek Boogaard, Rick Wade Belak RYPIEN – Saskatchewan were, or had ties to the province.

“It’s been tough around here. Has been a lot of heads hanging,” said Armstrong.

Boogaard and Belak were born in Saskatoon. RYPIEN was born in Alberta, but played in the lower echelons of the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League.

Armstrong skated with the WHL Saskatoon leaves on Wednesday morning and said he had a somber tone on the track where McCrimmon trained in 1998-99.

Armstrong was not on the list of Yaroslavl, but said that after McCrimmon was hired to coach Lokomotiv, who asked his agent to see if there is a vacancy for an import player on the team. However, happily accepted the offer to try out the subsidiary of the Jets in San Juan, offering the chance to play near his family.

“It’s a little scary to think about it (but) very comforting to know that I have people who were thinking about me. … I did not realize how many friends you had, you know” -. Riley Armstrong
A right, Armstrong spent six seasons in the AHL, before heading to Europe, where he played both in Augsburg of the German Elite League in 2010-11 and Astana.

There was a scary story on air transport in Russia.

“I’m not trying to hit Russia in any way, but I just think their level of respect of safety (s) not on par … from Canada or the U.S.,” he said.

Armstrong said that once, when his team was in Moscow, the plane filled with smoke, causing him and the handful of other players from North America aboard panic.

Other team members were told it was normal.

“They said this is what happens when you expect when you stay in the same place for long,” said Armstrong.

Another player knows Armstrong once published a photo of a plane completely bald tire of a Russian aircraft.

Despite the tragedy is still fresh, Armstrong said he is also excited by the opportunity to play for San Juan.

“Hopefully, I’ll play well and take me on board,” he said of his opportunity with the ice, whose training camp begins Sept. 27.

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