Ex-Hawks die in Russian plane crash

The Chicago Blackhawks joined the hockey community in mourning the deaths of at least 43 people in a Russian plane crash Wednesday.

Two former Hawks, Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev, were among those that died when the plane went down in Tunoshna, Russia.

Karpovtsev and Korolev were assistant coaches with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, which was flying to its opening game of the Continental Hockey League season.

"We stand together with the entire KHL, NHL and hockey world in mourning today's tragic news concerning the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team," the Hawks said in a statement. "The tragedy affects the Chicago Blackhawks family directly as we mourn the losses of Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev, two players who spent time with our organization and that our fans know well. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl organization."

Karpovtsev, 41, played for the Hawks from 2000-04. He won a Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers in 1994. He joined three Rangers teammates in 1994 as the first Russian players to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Korolev, also 41, was a Hawk from 2001-04. In 12 NHL seasons with St.
Louis, the Winnipeg-Phoenix franchise, Toronto and Chicago, he
scored 119 goals in 795 games.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also released a statement regarding the plane crash.

"Though it occurred thousands of miles away from our home arenas, this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world -- including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends who at one time excelled in our League," Bettman said. "Our deepest condolences go to the families and loved ones of all who perished."

Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPN 1000 and ESPNChicago.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.