Mike Babcock pulled out his cellphone and scrolled through the pictures filed within.
Finally, he found the one he sought to display. It was a photo of Ruslan Salei’s No. 24 sweater hanging in a place of honour in the Belarusian dressing room at last spring’s world hockey championships.
“That’s the way they honoured him and I thought that was spectacular.”
Both Salei, who played for Detroit Red Wings coach Babcock in Anaheim and Detroit and former Detroit assistant coach Brad McCrimmon were among the 44 people who died when the plane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team to its opening game of the 2010-11 KHL season crashed one year ago.
“We all are aware of that,” Detroit defenceman Jakub Kindl said of the anniversary of the tragedy.
“All the players spoke about it earlier today. We were reminded. We knew it was a year today. Obviously, it’s a sad day.
“I’ve been reading the Czech papers. There were three Czech players in the crash.”
During the summer, Babcock travelled to High River, Alta. to visit with McCrimmon’s parents.
“I had an opportunity to go out and see Beast’s mom and dad this summer,” Babcock said, referencing McCrimmon’s popular nickname.
“That was a special three hours there out in High River (Alberta). They’re great people and obviously, they love and miss their son. It’s hard.
“I had an opportunity to see Rusty’s wife and kids out in Anaheim last year. Anytime you’re talking about the kind of tragedy that took place last year, it’s obviously a scary thing.
And yet those families, they move on and you have fond memories of those great people.
Obviously, our thoughts and our prayers go out to their families.
“I know Maureen (McCrimmon’s widow) and the family have bought a house in Northville (Michigan) and they’re staying here, and that’s great.”