SPORTS

Devastated KHL team will not play this year: reports

09/10/2011 12:28 EDT | Updated 11/10/2011 05:12 EST

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl will not play in the Kontinental Hockey League this season.

The news was announced by team president Yury Yakovlev on Saturday, multiple media reports say, after a public viewing for the 36 players, coaches and staff of the club who were killed Wednesday when their Yak-42 aircraft crashed on takeoff at the Tunoshna airport, near Yaroslavl. Seven crew members were also among the dead.

"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," Yakovlev told Russia Today. "This will take some time as well as requiring human resources. But we are determined to resume participation in the KHL in 2012."

KHL officials have not confirmed the decision not to play, but they had said on Friday the decision to continue or not would be left to club executives.

Lokomotiv’s first team was on its way to Minsk for the opening game of the regular season when the aircraft suddenly veered left after struggling to take off, hit a radio tower and crashed into the Volga River.

Only two people on board, one team member and one crew, survived and both are in critical condition in medically induced comas.

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