This week Lokomotiv Yaroslavl will play their first KHL game since the plane crash which killed the entire team a year ago. Evgeny Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk have organized an event aimed to commemorate the players and support their families.
The profit from the charity game will go to the victims’ families, and unites people from various professions under a single aim – remembering all those, who died in the crash on September 7, 2011.
The event called “From an open heart” featured the teams of Evgeny Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk, taking to the ice along with fellow sportsmen and celebrities.
As is common at these events the goals flowed with many famous names getting on the score sheet -figure skating world champion Ilya Averbukh, ice hockey legend Vyacheslav Fetisov, jazz wizard Igor Butman – all of them found the net to the amusement of the Moscow fans.
“I really enjoyed the atmosphere here. It was very warm and kind. And we need to thank the spectators for that, of course,” Averbukh said before adding: “For us participants, it was also an opportunity to show our passion for hockey and give our support to the families of the former Loko players.”
However, the most anticipated heroes on the ice were the two captains. NHL stars Kovalchuk and Malkin led their charges into countless attacks and counter-attacks. At times producing not only goals and assists, but turning the night into a real show.
After the 60 minutes the battle was tied at 14-14, meaning both sides had five penalty shots apiece to try and seal victory. But even penalties couldn't separate the two sides with both teams scoring two out of five. So it ended with a draw.
“I think it was an interesting match to watch. Everyone, who took part in it, tried to play outstandingly and show his best hockey. And the result looks logical – the only thing, which could win in such a game, is friendship,” said Malkin.
The night raised more than half a million dollars for the families of the victims. But a more important outcome is proving that the Lokomotiv players are gone but not forgotten.