Russian talent dies in game

Alexei Cherepanov, 19, collapsed on the bench in Chekhov

13.10.2008
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Alexei Cherepanov died during a game at the age of 19 on Monday, October 13th, 2008. Photo: IIHF/HHoF

CHEKHOV, Russia –  Avangard Omsk's 19-year-old forward Alexei Cherepanov died Monday night after the KHL game Vityaz Chekhov vs. Avangard Omsk. He was proclaimed dead at 22:55 Moscow time.

The player of the Russian U20 national team and first-round draft pick of the New York Rangers died a few hours after he was named a candidate for the men’s national team by coach Vyacheslav Bykov.

Cherepanov collapsed on the bench in the 58th minute of Avangard Omsk’s KHL game at Vityaz Chekhov. Doctors tried to revive him for nearly an hour and signs of life were shown during short moments, but the resuscitation failed. He died of cardiac arrest a short time later in the hospital. Prior to losing conscience, he was talking with his teammate, Jaromir Jagr, following a shift on the ice.

"This is a sad, sad day for sports and international ice hockey in particular," said IIHF President René Fasel. "Alexei showed in various international world junior championships that he was a big part of Russia's hockey future, simply a superbly skilled young hockey player.

"This is a tragedy and the international ice hockey community extends its condolences to Alexei's family."

The 180cm, 78kg winger appeared in 106 games with Avangard Omsk in the Russian top league, collecting 40 goals and 29 assists.  Last season, Cherepanov established a career-high 13 assists, while finishing fourth in the club with 28 points.  In 2006-07, he set the Superliga record for most goals by a rookie (18), eclipsing Pavel Bure’s mark set in 1988-89. 

With 29 points in his rookie season, Cherepanov had more points than Malkin, Ovechkin and Kovalchuk in their rookie seasons. Thus far Cherepanov had eight goals and five assists in 15 KHL games this season, including one goal on the night of his death.

The Siberian-born player helped Russia win the 2007 World U18 Championship. He was elected top forward of the 2007 World U20 Championship where Russia took silver and also earned a bronze at the 2008 World U20 Championship.

A pre-game moment of silence was observed at the Madison Square Garden before the New York Rangers - New Jersey Devils game.


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