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BC Junior Reaches Out To Crash Victims

For The Heights

Published: Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

On Sept. 7, 2011, a tragic plane crash took the lives of 44 people, including 28 players, two coaches, and seven staff members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional hockey team of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). This tragedy has affected lives across the globe—the crash left Lokomotiv Hockey families from 10 different nations without brothers, sons and fathers. Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, called the crash the "darkest day in the history of the sport."

The worldwide movement Love for Lokomotiv has been launched in an effort to spread awareness about this catastrophe and raise money for the children and families affected by the crash. This project, a grassroots initiative engineered by family members and girlfriends of the victims all around the globe, has exploded. With the simple donation of ten dollars, people around the world have shown their sympathy and support by sporting silicon Love for Lokomotiv bracelets.

This initiative has also been undertaken by one of Boston College's own, Olga Khmylev, A&S '13, a player on the women's tennis team. Having lost four close friends in the plane crash, Khmylev decided to take the worldwide campaign one step further by bringing it to BC. She contacted the United Hockey Wives Foundation directly and was given permission to kick-start this campaign at BC, sending all proceeds directly to the foundation.

By making the campaign more local, Khmylev hopes to appeal to BC students and Boston hockey fans—an audience she is confident will take this matter seriously. Her personal connection to the tragedy has given her the necessary drive and passion to engage herself in an initiative she hopes others will be just as fervent about.

"There are still days when I cry thinking about the emptiness the families of the victims are feeling," Khmylev said. "I was heartbroken the second I found out about the crash, and I'm still heartbroken now. We can't do anything to bring my friends, the other players, coaches, and staff back—but we can spread the Lokomotiv love and keep them in our hearts forever."

The men's hockey team has been very supportive, and has already chosen to donate bracelets in honor of those lost.

Hockey teams in the U.S. have also adopted this contagious magnanimous spirit and have incorporated the Lokomotiv movement in their endeavors on the ice. Penguins player Evgeni Malkin, in his game on Oct. 13 against the Capitals, played with immense energy. The game served as a way to raise money for the families of the crash victims. Malkin and Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin spearheaded the effort together, while players from both clubs wore jerseys with commemorative Lokomotiv patches that were autographed and auctioned off on the NHL's website. All proceeds will benefit the Lokomotiv players' families. In times of tragedy, these acts of kindness and charity serve to highlight the fact that rivalries and team boundaries are trivial in the ultimate goal of comforting those affected by a tragedy.

Bracelets are ten dollars, but donations of any amount will be greatly appreciated. Khmylev will be selling the bracelets in Corcoran Commons tonight, Dec. 8 from 6-9 p.m.; in the Rat on Friday, Dec. 9 from 8:30-11:30 a.m.; and Friday in Corcoran Commons from 3-7 p.m.

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