Vladimir Konstantinov went from celebrating a Stanley Cup win to fighting for his life when a limo crashed in 1997. The athlete played his entire National Hockey League career with the Detroit Red Wings.
He is a former professional ice hockey player who was drafted 221st overall reportedly in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings. The Russian-American ice hockey player played previously for Soviet club CSKA Moscow.
It has been 25 years since one of the tragic events in Detroit sports history. Let’s learn what happened to the Russian-American ice hockey player in the article beneath.
What Happened To Ice Hockey Player Vladimir Konstantinov?
Ice Hockey Player Vladimir Konstantinov’s career came to an end in a limousine crash back in 1997 reportedly just six days after the Red Wings’ 1997 Stanley Cup victory.
A limo carrying two of the team members from their 1997 Stanley Cup team crashed into a tree reportedly two weeks after the Detroit Red Wings ended a decades-long championship drought.
The two team stars include Vladimir and Slava Fetisov who were injured in the crash. Vladimir suffered serious injuries, being placed on a ventilator to keep him breathing whereas Slava was in less serious condition.
While the Russian-American player was placed on a ventilator, Fetisov was comparatively in less serious condition than Konstantinov. He suffered chest injuries and a bruised lung during the tragiclimousine crash.
The two Russian-born ice hockey players were among the best at their craft. Konstantinov was reportedly a finalist for the NHL’s Norris Trophy as the best defenseman, however, his career ended due to the tragic crash.
On the other hand, one of the two team stars who suffered injuries in a limo crash Slava Fetisov is to date considered one of the greatest defensemen in the history of Russian ice hockey.
Reminiscing on the night of the limo crash, Konstantinov and Fetisov along with a Red Wings masseur were in the limo when it veered off Woodward Avenue and crashed into a tree on June 13, 1997, in Birmingham, Mich at about 9:30 p.m.
The aftermath of the tragic crash took a toll on the player’s health be it mentally as well as physically. Konstantinov, then 30, never got to play hockey again, suffering serious head injuries, keeping him wheelchair-bound.
Sergei Mnatsakanov, the team masseur was paralyzed from the waist down. Whereas Richard Gnida, the driver was hospitalized and later charged after blood tests showed evidence of marijuana in his blood.
Gnida was only charged with driving with a suspended license and spent 9 months in jail. ‘You shattered lives, Based on your behavior, you have a serious drug and alcohol problem. And what scares me is you don’t know it’, District Judge Kimberly Small told Richard.
Where Is Vladimir Konstantinov Now?
After 25 years of the tragic limo crash in 1997, Vladimir’s medical team fears law change will cost him care. New Law puts Konstantinov’s 24/7 care in jeopardy after he suffered injuries in which he nearly faced death.
The severe brain injury that he suffered requires round-the-clock care for all of his daily needs and to keep him safe. The no-fault law cuts payments reportedly to home care and other care providers for crash survivors by nearly half.
Vladimir’s agency, Acadia, said the fee cuts have reportedly caused a $1.5 million shortfall in revenue for him and the 30 other crash survivors, it cares for.
Acadia officials stated they may need to discharge all their patients soon, including the former Red Wings player Konstantinov unless the law is fixed.
The former ice hockey player acquired a share of reportedly a $2 million judgment from the limo owner’s insurance carrier, which under Michigan no-fault law is also paying his medical, rehab, and residential care expenses.
Vladimir Konstantinov Paralyzed
Vladimir Konstantinov is paralyzed and has a lifelong head injury due to a tragic limousine crash. The former ice hockey player also spent several weeks in a coma after the heartwrenching crash.
He was brought onto the ice in a wheelchair, surrounded by his teammates to celebrate the win after the Red Wings successfully defended the Stanley Cup in 1998.