Europe

Ice hockey fans' reaction to Russia air crash

Image caption Hockey fans in Yaroslavl and around the world are in shock over the loss of the team

Ice hockey fans around the world are mourning the victims of a plane crash in Russia which killed most of the major league team, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

Some 36 players and officials from the team died in the crash, along with seven crew.

Here, hockey fans from Yaroslavl and around the world describe their reaction to Wednesday's accident.

Kristina Chernikoba, 18, Yaroslavl, Russia

It's pretty intense here. People are just really in shock.

It feels like we have lost part of the family. It's really hard for the people of Yaroslavl to deal with.

In my school today, everyone was wearing the team's shirts and scarves.

We are all fans. A lot of my friends are big fans and go to all the games.

One of my friend's brothers plays for the team, but didn't fly with them this time.

He spent last night at the hospital with the player who survived, Alexander Galimov.

My friends and I went to the arena and church and just stood there in silence for a long time.

There are different places around the city where you can go and put flowers and there are many people gathered at each just standing there, in shock and silence.

We are all mainly young fans, like so many of the players.

We do not feel anger, just so much sadness for the families.

Petr Lastovka, Prague, Czech Republic

People are devastated and shocked here at the loss of three of our players - former world champions Jan Marek, Josef Vasicek, and Karel Rachunek.

The Czech Republic is an ice hockey country and they are all very famous here.

I saw them playing many times for the national team. The last time I saw them was on television in a game against Sweden in March.

A friend of mine is a former girlfriend of Josef Vasicek, and she is devastated.

Karel Rachunek will always be remembered for a famous late goal he scored for the Czech national team.

There are so many stories about them all. Everyone is talking about them and people are crying for them.

There was a vigil here in Prague last night and people are gathering again this afternoon. I will go along to pay tribute to the players.

We will miss them all. A lot.

Nika, Bratislava, Slovakia

Image caption Slovak player Pavol Demitra was among those who died in the crash

This is a huge tragedy.

I lost my hero and my hockey idol, [Slovak player] Pavol Demitra.

He was just 36 years old, and he left two small kids and his wife behind here.

It is such a misery.

He was incredibly talented, one of the greatest players in the world.

I saw him just a couple of times, but I won't forget him. Ever.

Jim Green, Faringdon, UK

I lived in Yaroslavl for a year, two years ago, and went to see Lokomotiv play on a number of occasions, most memorably following their run to the Gagarin cup final.

I was stunned to hear the news. It came as a big shock.

I have continued to follow the team since returning from living there.

It was always a bonding experience for my Russian friends and I to go and see them.

I have been in constant touch with my friends in Yaroslavl since the accident. They are all devastated and went to the vigil there last night.

My thoughts are now with everyone in Yaroslavl and the players' families.

James Bengel, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

[Czech player] Josef Vasicek won a Stanley Cup with my hometown team, the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.

I had the opportunity to interview him for a now-defunct local magazine when he was drafted by Carolina in 1998.

Though he's been gone from Raleigh for some time, there are still many fond memories of their number 63.

Not least of which is an overtime game-winner in the 2002 play-offs that started a miraculous run to the cup final for a group of blue-collar over-achievers.

I remember him as a softly-spoken friendly man.

My thoughts go with his family and all those who lost loved ones in the crash.

No matter what teams or leagues we follow, some things transcend competition.

Robert Dillon, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, UK

I'm in shock. I've just come back from a year studying in Russia, and spent four months in Yaroslavl.

I'm a massive sports fan and went to watch "Loko" many times.

I'm wearing their captain's jersey right now.

This is a tragedy, not just for the family and friends of those killed, but for the whole city, which takes great pride in its hockey team, and for Russia as a whole.

Of course the Russian aviation industry needs revamping, but the time now is for mourning.

My thoughts and prayers are in Yaroslavl today.

Interviews by Stephen Fottrell.

More on this story