We all know the story.
Just six days after the Detroit Red Wings won the 1997 Stanley Cup, a limousine accident put Vladimir Konstantinov in a coma and nearly killed him.
Konstantinov was the enforcer of the Red Wings and an integral part of the team that brought Detroit its first Stanley Cup in 42 years. He was affectionately known as “Vladdie” and “The Vladinator” in reference to Arnold Schwartzenegger’s character “The Terminator.”
Throughout the 1997-98 season, the Detroit Red Wings wore a patch on their jerseys in honor of Konstantinov and the others who were injured in the crash known simply as the Believe Patch.
It became a region-wide symbol of support for Vladdie and served as inspiration for the Red Wings players who went on to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Konstantinov was wheeled onto the ice to share in the celebration — and Captain Steve Yzerman placed the Stanley Cup in his lap. It was a scene in Detroit sports history that will never be forgotten.
Recently, ESPN aired a “Where Are They Now?” segment featuring Konstantinov. It give a wonderful overview of his life and his ongoing relationship with the Detroit Red Wings.