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Former Star Karlis Skrastins Dies In Russian Plane Crash

A Russian jet crashed near Yaroslavl, which is about 130 miles northeast of Moskow, Wednesday, killing at least 43 people. Among the passengers on the plane confirmed to have died is former Star Karlis Skrastins. Skrastins left the NHL to join Russian KHL league Lokomotiv this season and was on the flight with his team. Skrastins had played the past two years for Dallas and was a key defender on Avalanche, Predators and Panthers teams over the past decade. He was also the team captain for Latvia's national hockey team.

Also confirmed to have died in the crash are former NHL players Pavol Demitra and Brad McCrimmon.

Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk has released the following statement on the tragic accident, which occurred around noon local time amid clear skies:

The Dallas Stars family is shocked and saddened by the passing of Karlis Skrastins and so many other young lives in a plane crash in Russia today. Our thoughts and prayers are with Karlis' wife Zane and his two daughters, Karolina and Laurena, as well as all of the families and friends who lost loved ones on the plane. Karlis was a wonderful father and husband, as well as a good friend. He will be greatly missed.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.