Rats injured in bus crash UPDATE 15
Keith Aucoin set River Rats single-season franchise records with 70 assists and 99 points in 2006-07, and in his two seasons with Albany, established himself as a fan favorite.
Aucoin is with Hershey this season, having signed a two-year deal with the Washington Capitals. He was already at the Bears' home rink when he found out about the Rats team bus crash early this morning in the Berkshire County town of Becket, Mass.
"Right away I was pretty nervous, because I played with those guys and I know half the guys on that team," Aucoin said tonight from Rochester, where Hershey plays Friday night. "I was able to get hold of some of the guys to make sure they were all right. It's tough to hear news like that. It's something that could happen to anybody.
"I could have been on the bus with those guys. I'm glad to hear nobody got hurt too bad, which is good. I'm just thankful that everybody's alive."
The daytime weather was good for the Bears' five-hour trip to western New York.
"There's so many times when you travel late at night in weather like that," Aucoin said. "It's crazy to think that it doesn't happen more often, but thankfully it doesn't."
Aucoin said he was able to speak with Rats players Pat Dwyer, who was on the bus; captain Tim Conboy, who was recalled to the Carolina Hurricanes this morning and was not on board; and injured winger Trevor Gillies, who also stayed behind.
Aucoin also sent a text message to defenseman Casey Borer. Borer, defenseman Jonathan Paiement, forwards Joe Jensen and Nicolas Blanchard and radio broadcaster John Hennessy all remain at the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass.
"I knew it was going to be a hectic day for them, so I waited a while," Aucoin said. "The guys I talked to said they were OK, which is good to hear. It's just so surreal that it could happen anytime to anybody. It's tough even to come up with words to say. I'm just happy everybody's OK. I think those guys are real lucky. It could have been a lot worse."