Thursday, 8 September 2011

Maybe Rethink This Plan

The man to the left is a pretty important guy. That's Sergei Vakhrukov, Governor of Yaroslavl Oblast. He seems like a decent guy who served his country as a member of the Soviet Army before getting into politics. He has a wife and two kids, and he apparently drives a Volvo. For all intents and purposes, he's a pretty normal guy. But I have a problem with his latest statement in regards to the airplane tragedy in the region he governs and the hockey team that the people of Yaroslavl lost. These men are fathers, brothers, husbands, and proud representatives of their respective countries of origin, so I was a little shocked when Mr. Vakhrukov vowed to put a team back together so quickly.

Wednesday evening saw Mr. Vakhrukov address the 3000 people mourning the loss of their idols outside Arena 2000. His commitment was to rebuild the Lokomotiv team for play in the KHL this season. This, as you might imagine, was poorly received by the crowd of mourners who are still digesting the fact that their heroes have passed. Most found it disrespectful to the men who had died in the tragic airplane crash.

I get what Mr. Vakhrukov was trying to do, but the phrase "too soon" is entirely appropriate here. The 43 people who died on Wednesday cannot be "replaced" like a parts on a car. The people of Yaroslavl had a significant investment in their heroes, and to suggest replacing them a mere 24 hours after their deaths is pretty disrespectful. The vast majority of international players have not even been identified by family yet, but Mr. Vakhrukov is apparently moving on already.

While I don't think Mr. Vakhrukov meant any disrespect whatsoever, some tact and class would be appreciated by all when it comes to a tragedy of this magnitude, especially by a man whose career rests on the votes of the people to which he was speaking. Career-limiting speech, I'd say.

I know that the KHL has determined that three players from the remaining clubs could be offered up to help Lokomotiv put a team back on the ice, and that's a pretty generous offer from the league and its clubs. However, I think it would be far more suitable, especially for those grieving family members lost, if Lokomotiv just called it a season and started building for next season.

Mr. Vakhrukov, I wish you well going forward from this faux pas, but let's start looking at building another strong team for the 2012-13 KHL season. This season is over, and the fans, teammates, and families need time to mourn and put this tragedy behind them. Give them time.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Peter Santellan said...

An update to that story: Lokomotiv has decided not to play this season, instead opting to build for the 2012-13 season. It's only fair to them and the other teams because not only will Lokomotiv have time to rebuild itself, but also be competing on equal footing. If any team needed a year off, it's Lokomotiv. RIP to all that perished.