Latvia mourns hockey legend Skrastins

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RIGA, Latvia (AP) -- Thousands of Latvians are congregating in the country's main sports arena to pay final respects to hockey legend Karlis Skrastins, who died last week in a plane crash in Russia that annihilated an entire team.

Former Colorado Avalanche player Skrastins is regarded as one of the greatest Latvian players in a country where hockey is by far the most popular sport. He was 37.

The public tribute Friday in the capital Riga will be followed by a funeral at a local cemetery.

Skrastins was among 37 players, coaches and staff of Russia's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club who died when their jet crashed outside Yaroslavl en route to their first game of the season.