September 7, 2011
Agent calls for KHL transportation review
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Agent Matt Keator is calling for a review of the quality of transportation used by the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League in the wake of Wednesday's terrible tragedy in Yaroslavl.
Keator, who represents crash victim and former NHLer Pavol Demitra, said the KHL needs to study the equipment being used by teams for travel. Keator would be hesitant to send another player there.
"They have to look (at travel)," Keator told the QMI Agency from Boston. "I think this crash will spur them to look at player safety in transportation. The players have complained about the fact they're flying on planes that are 30 years old.
"I've had other clients over there who have been worried about their safety in travelling. Obviously, it's something that we're going to address after something like this."
New York Rangers defenceman Brendan Bell, who started last season in Omsk, said the way KHL teams travel isn't anything close to the NHL. Most of the planes are old and haven't been refurbished the way they are for NHL teams.
"I didn't think they were unsafe. I don't think that the way that they travel is up to our standards but I didn't think it was unsafe," said Bell. "They go through all the security checks, they do all the same things. Planes are delayed for takeoff the same they are here.
"You see the way teams travel over there. You know it could have been you. It could happen at anytime. You don't think of it when you get on a private jet here and when you're travelling in style. I guess it can happen anywhere. That's what is so scary. They're just old Russian planes. I wouldn't say they're 'prehistoric', they're just a little older."