For Senators coach Paul MacLean, it was more devastating than any hockey loss.
When a Yak-42 jet carrying the KHL’s hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crashed last week, MacLean lost a close pal.
He and Brad McCrimmon, the team’s coach, were assistants with the Red Wings together the past three years.
And on Saturday, while MacLean is stepping on the ice for the first time as an NHL head coach, a funeral service is being held for McCrimmon in Farmington, Mich.
“It’s hard for Brad’s family, especially his son Liam, who’s 14 and doesn’t have his dad anymore,” MacLean said Friday. “So that’s going to be a hard day. He’s got a daughter (Carlin) who’s 20 and in nursing school, and that’s going to be hard for them, and his wife Maureen. Him and his dad Byron were real close, and him his brother were close, so it’s a sad day for their family and I feel for them.
MacLean knows that by staying in Ottawa, he’s doing what McCrimmon would want.
“As much as you’d like to be there, life goes on,” said MacLean. “Brad’s a good friend of mine and I think he’d want me to be here.”