Thursday, 29 September 2011 00:00

Love for Lokomotive - NHL Wives Deliver the Biggest Assist of All for Families Affected by the Tragedy of Yaroslavl Lokomotiv

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Several NHL hockey wives, lead by Kodette LaBarbera - wife of Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Jason LaBarbera - have launched a fundraising drive to help the many families who lost loved ones in the plane crash. We reached out to Kodette to learn more about the Love for Lokomotiv movement that has taken hold around the NHL and what you can do to help, and here is what she told us:


"This whole project has been absolutely amazing. The wives and girlfriends in the hockey world are such caring and giving people. When we first heard about the crash, we all struggled with what we could do as a group to help. I sent an email suggesting bracelets... as a way to show the families left behind from Yaroslavl Lokomotiv that we were thinking about them and supporting them. And if we could raise money from the bracelets, then that was an added bonus.


In less than a week of the awful tragedy, the idea had completely taken off. A group of us had managed to come up with contacts for every team in the NHL, along with contacts for the AHL, KHL, SEL, EBL, Nationaliga, SM-liga, DEL, WHL, OHL. I then had bracelets ordered, and worked closely with Sarah Finecey, Phoenix Coyotes Director of Community Development, and The Arizona Community Foundation, to set up a fund that the money could go into and be sent legally to the families.
















I have been working mainly with Brijet Whitney (wife of Ray Whitney), Erica Lundmark (wife of Jamie Lundmark) and Katerina Jokinen (wife of Olli Jokinen). We have joined all of our hockey friends from every team imaginable, to unite all the girls with these bracelets. They are currently being shipped to teams all over the world. We created a website where fans can also show their support and unity for the families. There, they can purchase the beaded bracelets the girls are wearing, and also the silicone bracelets which the players, coaches, management and training staff now have. But it has been a joint effort from ALL the wives and girlfriends that make this project so special. We have all worked so hard to make this come to life. It's so important to us that the families left behind know that we are thinking of them.






This hockey life is really special. We meet new hockey friends on a yearly basis (sometimes more) and they really become a part of your family. We rely on each other to fill the void of missing our hometown friends and our families. We are all such different people, but no matter what, we have hockey that brings us together and only we know what each other is really going through. Some of my closest friends over the last couple of years have been my hockey girlfriends. I honestly could never have imagined how big this project would get. But I never could have done it without the support of all the girls involved. Each contact we have, emails on a regular basis to ask where they can help out next, and its fantastic to see everyone give their time for this. We hockey girls really do having an amazing support system in each other :)"


We don't often hear very much about the families of professional athletes - there are no stat lines for "cheers per game average" or "time spent away from loved ones." But these are the people who keep the hockey "family" together, through their dedication, their support and their love for each other and the game. It's been a very difficult summer for the hockey community, with the loss of 3 young NHL players just prior to the tragic events in Russia. As the NHL season gets underway shortly, it's the stories behind the tremendous out-pouring of generosity and giving back that illustrate just how unique the people in this sport truly are.


And if there was any question as to who these young men were and what they stood for, this piece out of Russia will shine a light on an anonymous hero from Yaroslavl Lokomotiv and where his thoughts were just minutes before he perished.


Heavy hearts as we head into opening day...



To purchase your bracelets and support the families of Yaroslavl Lokomotiv,

please visit





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