The recent, heartbreakingly tragic plane crash that took the lives of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL hockey team has been weighing on my heart. After reading about it in my local newspaper back here in Canada, I felt that I had to say something. Here's my letter to the editor:
"I spent the last year teaching English in Mytishi, Russia – a town that quickly became my home away from home. I lived literally steps away from the KHL arena that was home to Atlant Moscow Oblast, and was immediately accepted by Atlant’s fans as one of their own (albeit one who still insisted on wearing Canadian Olympic mittens!) The memory that stands out the most for me happened after one match, when I walked to the corner shop to pick up some milk. A group of cheering Atlant fans stormed into the shop, decked out in full fan gear and boisterously singing hockey songs. Their joy and elation were infectious as they bought beers and vodka and trooped out again, still singing with pride. I never had the chance to watch a Lokomotiv Yaroslavl game, but I do know this – Russia is full of hockey towns, just like here in Canada. These towns come alive during KHL games, with everyone celebrating and supporting their team with a fierce love. I can’t even imagine the shock, pain, and heartbreak that Yaroslavl is experiencing. Kanada skorbit vmeste s vami. Canada grieves with you."
My prayers go out to all the family, friends and fans of Lokomotiv.