AHL alums among crash victims


Seven former American Hockey League players are among the reported victims of the plane crash that claimed 43 lives near Yaroslavl, Russia, on Wednesday.

Russian newspaper Sovetsky Sport lists AHL alumni Pavol Demitra, Robert Dietrich, Igor Korolev, Stefan Liv, Karel Rachunek, Ruslan Salei and Alexander Vasyunov as having perished in the crash of the team plane of the Kontinental Hockey League’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl club.

“Our thoughts are with the KHL and the Lokomotiv organization on this tragic day,” said AHL President and CEO David Andrews. “Today’s losses are felt by all of us in the hockey family, and we offer our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives.”

Demitra, 36, played three seasons with the AHL’s Prince Edward Island Senators (1993-96), registering 72 goals and 124 assists for 196 points in 133 games. He participated in the 1996 AHL All-Star Classic in Hershey during a season that saw him put up 81 points in just 48 games for P.E.I.

Demitra played 847 games in the NHL with Ottawa, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Minnesota and Vancouver, scoring 304 goals and totaling 768 points. He also spent time with the Grand Rapids Griffins while they were members of the International Hockey League.

Dietrich, 25, played the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals, tallying 62 points in 142 games. The defenseman was a sixth-round draft choice by the Nashville Predators in 2007.

Korolev, 41, played 24 games for the Norfolk Admirals over the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, notching five goals and seven assists. Korolev also appeared in 795 games over parts of 12 seasons in the NHL with St. Louis, Winnipeg, Phoenix, Toronto and Chicago. He was serving as an assistant coach for Lokomotiv.

Liv, 30, spent the 2006-07 season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, making 34 appearances and posting a 15-15-2 record. He was a 2000 draft pick by the Detroit Red Wings.

Rachunek, 32, had a six-game stint with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators in 2002-03. He played 371 games in the NHL with Ottawa, the N.Y. Rangers and New Jersey, and also appeared with Grand Rapids during the Griffins’ time in the IHL.

Salei, 36, was a 1996 first-round draft pick by Anaheim who saw time in the AHL with the Baltimore Bandits (1996-97) and Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (1997-98). He played 917 games in the NHL with Anaheim, Florida, Colorado and Detroit.

Vasyunov, 23, played 187 games over the last three seasons in the AHL with Lowell (2008-10) and Albany (2010-11) as one of the top prospects of the New Jersey Devils. Last season, Vasyunov tallied 25 points in 50 AHL games while also making his NHL debut with New Jersey, notching one goal and four assists in 18 contests with the parent Devils.