On Wednesday, September 7th, 2011, the hockey world was shocked by the tragic plane crash that took the lives of almost an entire hockey team. The Yak-42 passenger plane was carrying the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv hockey team to the first game of the 2011-2012 KHL season. Of the 45 players, coaches, team staff, and crew members, only forward Alexander Galimov and crew member Alexander Sizov survived.
Among those who passed away in the accident was defenseman Ruslan “Rusty” Salei, a member of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for nine seasons. Ducks Report reader Lulu (@rollingdux) put together this wonderful video tribute for one of the most beloved players to ever pull on a Ducks sweater…
Ruslan Salei is ranked fourth in the history of the Anaheim Ducks organization with 594 games played, which is the most of any defenseman. Drafted 9th overall by the Ducks in 1996 NHL Entry Draft, he scored 26 goals and 79 assists for 105 points during his 9 seasons in Anaheim.
The defenseman was well-known for being tough on the ice and warm-hearted off the ice. One of his most memorable moments was during the 2003 run to the Stanley Cup Finals, when he scored the game-winning overtime goal in Game 3.
Salei is survived by a wife and three children. He was 35 years old.
Rest in peace Rusty. You will forever live on in our hearts.
Thanks to Lulu for this tribute video. Make sure to check out the rest of her Ducks videos on her YouTube channel.