August 27, 1979|
|Died||September 7, 2011
|Height||6 ft 2 in (188 cm)|
|Weight||220 lb (100 kg; 15 st 10 lb)|
|Played for||Ottawa Senators
New York Rangers
New Jersey Devils
|National team||Czech Republic|
|NHL Draft||229th overall, 1997
Karel Rachůnek (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarɛl ˈraxuːnɛk], August 27, 1979 – September 7, 2011) was a Czech professional ice hockey player. Rachunek was the captain of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) when the team's plane crashed on September 7, 2011. He played eight seasons in North America in the National Hockey League (NHL). Rachunek was drafted in the ninth round, 229th overall, by the Ottawa Senators in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. Rachunek was the brother of Ivan Rachunek and Tomas Rachunek who have also played professional ice hockey.
Rachunek played his junior hockey with AC ZPS Zlin Jr. of the Czech Junior League from 1995 to 1997. In his rookie season in 1995–96, Rachunek recorded eight goals and 19 points in 38 games. In his second season with the club in 1996–97, Rachunek scored two goals and 13 points in 27 games. In the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, the Ottawa Senators selected Rachunek in the ninth round, 229th overall.
In 1997–98, Rachunek moved to Zlin of the Czech Extraliga. In his first season with the club, he scored a goal and three points in 27 games. In 1998–99, Rachunek improved his offensive numbers to three goals and 12 points in 39 games, as well as accumulating 88 penalty minutes, helping Zlin into the playoffs. In six playoff games, Rachunek was held pointless.
Rachunek made his North American debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the IHL in 1999–2000, which was the Ottawa Senators top minor league affiliate. In 62 games with the Griffins, Rachunek had six goals and 26 points, helping Grand Rapids earn a playoff berth. In nine post-season games, Rachunek had five assists.
He also made his NHL debut with the Senators in 1999–2000. Rachunek made his debut on October 31, 1999, getting no points with 14:22 of ice time in the Senators 6–4 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. Rachunek appeared in six games with Ottawa, going pointless.
In 2000–01, Rachunek made the Senators coming out of training camp. In his rookie season, Rachunek appeared in 71 games, scoring three goals and 33 points, averaging nearly 21 minutes of ice time per game, helping the Senators into the playoffs. Rachunek earned his first NHL point on November 11, 2000, an assist on a goal by Magnus Arvedson in the Senators 4–3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. He would score his first NHL goal on January 16, 2001, scoring on Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jamie Storr in a 7–6 loss. Rachunek appeared in three playoff games, getting no points.
Rachunek missed 31 games in 2001–02 due to injuries. In 51 games with Ottawa, he scored three goals and 18 points. He then missed the playoffs due to injuries.
Rachunek missed the first part of the 2002–03 season due to a contract dispute, as he played for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the RSL. In nine games with Yaroslavl, Rachunek had three goals. On November 8, 2002, he re-signed with the Ottawa Senators, and would appear in 58 games with them, scoring four goals and 29 points. Rachunek then played in 17 playoff games with the Senators, scoring a goal and four points. He scored his first playoff goal against Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils on May 17, 2003 in a 5–2 loss. Rachunek also played in six games with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL, earning two assists.
In 2003–04, Rachunek played in 60 games with the Senators, scoring a goal and 17 points. His time with the Senators came to an end as of March 9, 2004, Ottawa traded Rachunek and Alexandre Giroux to the New York Rangers for Greg de Vries.
New York Rangers
Rachunek finished the 2003–04 season with the New York Rangers. He appeared in his first game with New York on March 12, 2004 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, as the Rangers lost 5–2. He scored his first goal and point as a Ranger on March 25, 2004, beating goaltender Tomas Vokoun of the Nashville Predators in a 4–2 loss. Rachunek finished the year playing in 12 games with the Rangers, scoring a goal and four points.
With the 2004-05 NHL lockout cancelling the season, Rachunek signed with Orli Znojmo of the Czech Extraliga on September 6, 2004. In 21 games, he scored five goals and 11 points before becoming a free agent at the end of October.
On November 1, 2004, Rachunek returned to Lokomotiv Yaroslav of the RSL, where he first played during the 2002–03 season when he and the Ottawa Senators could not agree to a contract. He finished the 2004–05 season with the club, getting six goals and 14 points in 27 games. In the playoffs, Rachunek had two goals in nine games.
Rather than return to the NHL for the 2005–06 season, Rachunek decided to remain with Yaroslavl. In 45 games, Rachunek had 11 goals and 27 points. He was then held pointless in two playoff games, however, Rachunek accumulated 29 penalty minutes in those two games.
New York Rangers
Rachunek returned to the New York Rangers for the 2006–07 season. In 66 games, Rachunek had six goals and 26 points, helping the team into the playoffs. In six playoff games, Rachunek had four assists. After the season, Rachunek became a free agent.
New Jersey Devils
On July 3, 2007, the New Jersey Devils signed Rachunek for the 2007–08 season. Rachunek played in his first game as a Devil on October 4, 2007, earning no points in a 3–1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He recorded his first point on October 8, 2007, an assist against his former team, the Ottawa Senators in a 4–2 loss. Rachunek scored his first goal with New Jersey on November 17, 2007, against Martin Biron of the Philadelphia Flyers in a 6–2 win. Injuries cut his season short, as Rachunek appeared in only 49 games, scoring four goals and 13 points. At the end of the season, Rachunek was a free agent.
On August 31, 2008, Rachunek signed a contract with HC Dynamo Moscow of the KHL. In the 2008–09 season, Rachunek had nine goals and 32 points in 50 games. In 12 playoff games, Rachunek had four goals and eight points.
He returned to Dynamo Moscow for the 2009–10 season, where he scored 10 goals and 27 points in 52 games, helping the club reach the post-season. In four playoff games, Rachunek had no points.
Rachunek returned to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, now in the KHL for the third time in the 2010–11 season. In 50 games with Yaroslavl, Rachunek had 11 goals and 46 points, as the team finished with the best record in the Tarasov Division. In 18 playoff games, Rachunek had eight goals and 13 points.
|Representing Czech Republic|
|2010 Cologne||Ice hockey|
|2011 Bratislava||Ice hockey|
Rachunek played with the Czech Republic national ice hockey team in various tournaments throughout his career. At the 1999 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Rachunek had a goal and four points in six games as the Czech Republic finished in seventh place.
At the 2009 IIHF World Championship held in Switzerland, Rachunek had four assists in seven games, as the Czech Republic finished in sixth place. Rachunek earned a spot on the team again for the 2010 IIHF World Championship held in Germany, as he scored two goals (one of them game tying just 7 seconds to play in semi-final against Sweden) and four points in nine games, helping the Czech Republic to the Gold Medal. Rachunek had an assist on the game-winning goal in the Gold Medal game. At the 2011 IIHF World Championship held in Slovakia, Rachunek had a goal and three points in nine games, helping the Czech Republic to the Bronze Medal.
Rachůnek died on September 7, 2011 in a plane crash, along with his entire Lokomotiv team, just outside Yaroslavl, Russia. The team was on its way to their 2011–2012 season opener with the entire team, coaching staff, and prospects. Lokomotiv officials said "everyone from the main roster was on the plane plus four players from the youth team." The team was traveling to Minsk to play their opening game of the season."
It was during the takeoff, after the runway of 3km that the airplane simply couldn't get up high enough, according to reports the plane reached a total altitude of 10–50 meters before hitting a pylon and dropping to the left. Parts of the airplane spread in Volga, and others on plain land, as it broke apart just before once again touching the ground.
Note: GP = Games played, G = Goals, A = Assists, P = Points, PIM = Penalty minutes, +/- = Plus/minus, S = Shots, S% = Shooting percentage
|1997–98||HC ZPS-Barum Zlín||Czech||27||1||2||3||n/a||16||n/a||n/a||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1998–99||HC ZPS-Barum Zlín||Czech||39||3||9||12||n/a||88||n/a||n/a||6||0||0||0||n/a||0||n/a||n/a|
|1999–00||Grand Rapids Griffins||IHL||62||6||20||26||+18||64||92||6.5||9||0||5||5||+5||6||n/a||n/a|
|2003–04||New York Rangers||NHL||12||1||3||4||−9||4||21||4.8||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2004–05||HC JME Znojemští Orli||Czech||21||5||6||11||−6||55||n/a||n/a||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2006–07||New York Rangers||NHL||66||6||20||26||−9||38||99||6.1||6||0||4||4||−1||2||8||0.0|
|2007–08||New Jersey Devils||NHL||47||4||9||13||+3||40||68||5.9||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
- Prague Post
- "First pictures from the crash of Yak-42 near Yaroslavl". Lifenews.ru. 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
- "In Memory: Karel Rachunek". nyrnation.net. 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
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