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Kabanov touched by Locomotive tragedy | September

Like so many in the hockey community, Islanders prospect Kirill Kabanov knew someone on the KHL hockey club Locomotive who had passed away after the team plane crashed moments after takeoff on Wednesday.

“It’s pretty hard because four of my friends were there,” Kabanov said somberly following the first day of Islanders rookie camp. “We had a small memorial at my university. It’s a big tragedy for me because I grew up with those guys, we played against each other all the time, and we played on the national team”

As for the first day back on the ice, the 19-year-old Russian was excited to be back. Kabanov had just returned to Long Island from Russia the day before. “I was very excited to get back into hockey season,” Kabanov later said.

He’s been working on gaining weight and his speed among his other skills over the summer and spent the last three weeks working with his coach at his university.

Going into camp the former third round pick says he wants to show the coaches he’s ready.

“I’ll try to show that I’m ready to play in the show,” Kabanov explained. “Just try to work hard and show the coaches that I’m ready for the big season.”

“But it’s pretty hard to think about hockey after (the Locomotive tragedy.)”