(msnbc.com) A Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashed while taking off Wednesday in western Russia, killing at least 43 people and leaving two others critically injured, officials said.
Officials said the plane crashed immediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles northeast of Moscow.
The plane was said to be carrying 45 people, including the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team, and all but two of those on board were killed.
Lokomotiv is coached by Canadian Brad McCrimmon, former Detroit Red Wings assistant, and includes several international stars in its ranks, such as goalkeeper Stefan Liv of Sweden and Czech Republic players Karel Ranuchek, Josef Vasicek and Jan Marek and Slovakia's Pavol Demitra.
Demitra, the Slovakian national team captain, played in the NHL for the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks. Other top names include Russian defensemen Ruslan Salei and Karlis Skrastins.
It wasn't immediately clear which players were on board the plane on Wednesday.
The Russian news agency Interfax reported that the survivors were Lokomotiv forward Alexander Golimov and a member of the plane's crew.
"There has been a terrible tragedy," Kontinental Hockey League president Alexander Medvedev said in televised comments.
Interfax reported that the plane had trouble gaining altitude and hit an antenna near the runway. The weather was sunny and clear at the time.
Russian TV station Rossiya-24 quoted local witnesses who said most of the plane was destroyed and burning pieces of fuselage were all that was left of the aircraft, NBC News reported.
The hockey team was heading to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursday.