The stadium of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl has been turned into a shrine by thousands of ice hockey fans who have turned out to pay tribute to their team.
Many came immediately after news of the crash started to spread. Some came to light candles, others to lay flowers or team scarves beside the stadium wall.
“It is terrible, a big loss for hockey and a big loss for the city of Yaroslavl. I stopped everything to come here. I am a hockey fan. I was an amateur player. My brother and son both play. This is really terrible,” said one supporter.
The pain is also being felt across the world as Lokomotiv’s squad included players and coaches from countries such as Slovakia, Sweden, Canada and the Czech Republic.
International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel sent his condolences from the global ice hockey community and Russia’s Kommersant-FM radio station said players from other hockey teams were offering to help rebuild the team.
Alexey Torbin, the head of Dynamo Minsk hockey club, said “We all knew Lokomotiv. It was one of the strongest teams in the Continental Hockey League. Matches against them were always popular in Belarus. We knew many of these guys. They had many top level players. We are all in mourning.”
Only one of the 37 players and team officials survived, reviving memories of the 1958 Munich plane disaster which killed many players of England’s Manchester United Football Club.