Two former Southland hockey pros presumed dead in Russian plane crash

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A Lokomotiv scarf is placed amongst flowers and candles at the 'Arena 2000' on Sept. 8 in Yaroslavl, Russia. Ice hockey fans all over the world are mourning after most of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team were killed in a plane crash.

Two members of the Russian Locomotiv team aboard Wednesday's plane crash had played on pro teams in the Southland.

The crash of the flight that was supposed to take Locomotiv to its season opener but instead crashed shortly after takeoff near the Russian city of Yaroslavl.

One of the dead was former Los Angeles Kings forward Pavol Demitra who's record shows strong ties across international boarders. During his 16 years with the NHL, Demitra skated for five teams, including teams in Ottawa, St. Louis and L.A.

Slovakian born, Demitra spent the 2005-2006 season with the Kings and became Locomotiv’s lead scorer last season. He was 36.

Former Anaheim Ducks defenseman Ruslan Salei was also on board. Salei was a Belarus native that fans called “Rusty.” He played 10 years with Anaheim, the team that drafted him. He was also 36.

Other men who’d played, coached and tried out with the Southern California teams and the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes were also on the doomed charter flight.

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