Ryan Smyth left the Kinsmen Twin Arenas with a heavy heart Wednesday afternoon.

The Edmonton Oilers winger knew both Karlis Skrastins and Ruslan Salei, who were killed in a plane crash in Russia earlier in the day.

The three were former members of the Colorado Avalanche.

"It's shocking to the hockey world for sure," said Smyth, who was at the south side rink skating with a number of Oilers veterans in preparation for the upcoming season. "You see how easily things can be taken away, so you can't take anything for granted when you leave your family and your friends behind. I can't even imagine what their family and friends are going through right now.

"I played with both Karlis Skrastins and Ruslan Salei and Brad McCrimmon played with my older brother. It's a sad day for sure."