DENVER (AP) – Two former Colorado Avalanche players are among those killed in the crash of a Russian jet carrying a top hockey team.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said Ruslan Salei of Belarus and Karlis Skrastins of Latvia were among those killed in Wednesday’s crash along the Volga River.

RELATED STORY: Russian Jet Crash Kills 43, Including International Hockey Stars

The Avalanche traded Skrastins to the Florida Panthers in February 2008 in exchange for Salei.

Salei also played for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Detroit Red Wings.

Skrastins also played the Nashville Predators.

73385091 2 Former Avs Killed In Crash Of Russian Jet

Karlis Skrastins (credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

83083637 2 Former Avs Killed In Crash Of Russian Jet

Ruslan Salei (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Statements From The Colorado Avs

“The entire Colorado Avalanche organization is deeply saddened by this morning’s horrific news regarding the Kontinental Hockey League’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl,” said President Pierre Lacroix.

“Moreover, we are all in a state of shock regarding the deaths of former Avalanche defensemen Karlis Skrastins and Ruslan Salei. Our thoughts and prayers go out their families as well as those involved in this devastating incident.”

“I am still in disbelief about today’s tragic news,” said Executive Advisor/Alternate Governor Joe Sakic. “Both Karlis and Ruslan were unbelievable individuals and great teammates. They will be sorely missed. My condolences go out to their families and all those affected in this tragedy.”

Skrastins spent four seasons with the Avalanche, appearing in 275 regular season games from 2003-2004 to 2007-2008. He set an NHL record of 495 consecutive games played by a defenseman, while playing for the organization.

Salei spent three seasons with the Avalanche, appearing in 101 regular season games from 2007-2008 to 2009-2010.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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