Ruslan Salei Tribute | A Must-See Memorial

There are tributes and memorials — and then there’s this: A friend of mine forwarded a video to me on Twitter earlier today, and I felt like I needed to share it. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I’m talking about the very unique memorial for fallen hockey player Ruslan Salei.

Ruslan Salei was one of 44 people killed when the airplane carrying the Kontinental Hockey League team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl crashed shortly after takeoff in Russia on September 7, 2011. That means the anniversary of the crash and Salei’s death are upon us, so there’s no better time to share something like this.

The former Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche defenseman was honored last weekend in Minsk, Belarus (where he was born and raised) with the first Ruslan Salei Memorial Tournament. The event had plenty of great hockey, but it also included this amazing sand animation tribute to Salei’s life:

Ruslan Salei was a first round pick (ninth overall) by the Mighty Ducks (now just the Ducks) in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. He spent parts of nine seasons in Anaheim before signing with the Panthers as a free agent in 2006. He played parts of two seasons in Florida before he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in 2008. Salei then wrapped up his NHL career with the Red Wings in 2011. In all, Salei played 917 games in the National Hockey League, registering 45 goals, 145 assists (204 points) and 1,065 penalty minutes.

Salei’s NHL career was over, but he wasn’t quite done with hockey. He decided to take his game back overseas when signed with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in July of 2011. And a few months later, at just 36-years-old, Ruslan Salei’s life came to a tragic end. But, as you can see from the video and the memorial tournament, he won’t soon be forgotten.

Ruslan Salei Tribute

Ruslan Salei

What do you think of the tribute? Have you ever seen anything like this before? I would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+. You can also find more sports coverage right now at