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A portrait of Ivan Tkachenko, one of the players from the Lokomotiv Yaroslav ice hockey team thought to have perished in an air crash earlier in the day, is seen flanked by candles and glasses in front of Arena-2000, the team's home venue in Yaroslavl early on September 8, 2011. At least 44 people were killed on September 7 when a Russian jet carrying hockey players of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl to their first match of the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) season crashed on takeoff in the latest blow to the country's tainted air safety record. Czech players Josef Vasicek, Jan Marek and Karel Rachunek were on Yaroslavl's roster this season along with Stefan Liv of Sweden and Slovak Pavol Demitra. Canadian manager Brad McCrimmon was coaching Lokomotiv this season.


Minutes before he boarded the Yak-42 passenger jet that was doomed to crash, Yaraslavl Lokomotiv captain Ivan Tkachenko managed one last act of kindness: he anonymously transferred money to a 16-year-old Russian cancer patient.

According to Russian media reports, Tkachenko had been quietly donating money to sick children for years, as much as 500,000 rubles at a time. The most recent recipient had been teenager Diana Ibragimova, whose parents learned of Tkachenko's charitable donations after the Sept. 7 jet crash that killed the entire Lokomotiv hockey team along with former NHL player and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon.

Tkachenko did not want any publicity for his actions. The 31-year-old former Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick had played 10 seasons for Lokomotiv and, according to family members, had a fondness for children who were stricken with illness.

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The story also noted how Tkachenko's wife is expecting their third child.

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Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More

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