When running any sort of business, there are a lot of factors that go into what kind of reputation your business will have. The KHL's Yaroslavl Lokomotiv faced some tough decisions this week with respect to the devastating tragedy that the team faced, and one of those decisions was the choice to push forward in this season or opt out of the 2011-12 campaign. There has been a push from within to show that the people of Yaroslavl can handle this kind of tragedy by showing that the team will soldier on in light of what happened, but I'm happy to report today that the Lokomotiv team will scuttle this season out of respect to the men who lost their lives on Wednesday.
Russia Today reports that the team has decided not to push forward with the season. Having met with Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin and Yaroslavl Governor Sergey Vakhrukov, Yury Yakovlev, Lokomotiv's president, stated,
"The main priority now is to take care of the relatives and to pay last tribute to the late players and staff. The other aim is to re-build a competitive team. This will take some time as well as requiring human resources. But we are determined to resume participation in the KHL in 2012."Despite the announcement being very business-like, this decision is one I applaud, commend, and respect simply due to the team focusing on the players' families and the difficult times they are facing. That, to me, shows that the Lokomotiv franchise is, indeed, a family more than it is a collection of players.
The healing process will now begin for the families, friends, and fans of the Lokomotiv squad. It will be a long and somewhat painful process for the grieving, but the time away from the game will help everyone surrounding the team.
Vladimir Yakunin, President of the Lokomotiv's main sponsor Russian Railways, stated,
"All words of grief can in no way be compared to what's going on inside the souls of the relatives of the deceased. Right now there is a unity of the community and I am thankful to Yaroslav residents for their love to the team. The club will definitely be rebuilt. But Lokomotiv is not just players and hockey sticks, but also the spirit. And we have to approach the rebuild of this spirit with care. We will do everything possible to do it and we will show ourselves in the 2012-2013 season."The spirit of the game and the club probably won't be any less than what it was before this tragedy occurred. If anything, the people of Yaroslavl will have a chance to show their perseverance and strength next season by cheering on their new heroes once this difficult time has passed. Yaroslavl is one of the Russian cities where hockey is a bigger draw than soccer, so the local fans' support of the club will never be in question.
I commend the team and the KHL for making this difficult decision that will most likely cost them a lot of revenue this season. But when dealing with the human element, the most precious asset is life, and the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv franchise has shown a lot of compassion towards all those involved with the team.
That, readers, is the kind of business I would be proud to be involved with, and the Lokomotiv franchise has shown exactly what kind of morals and ethics they have. Doing the right thing is not always the most popular idea, but it is the right thing to do. And that needs to be recognized.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!