New York Ranger prospect Alexei Cherepanov collapsed Monday night in Russia during a game with his team, the Avengard Omsk,and passed away shortly after. The talented right wing was only 19 years old.
Circumstances surrounding this tragic death are still unknown. Omsk head coach, Wayne Fleming, said he did not see anything on the ice that could have contributed to Alexei's untimely demise. Russian sources say that attempts to get Cherepanov's heart beating were made, but the ambulance that is present at all games had already departed and had to be called back. It remains unclear how long it took for young Alexei to be transported from the rink to the hospital but estimates of "15 to 20 minutes" have been heard.
Alexei was the NY Rangers' first draft pick last year, 17th overall. Alexei was known to those around him as an intelligent, energetic and tremendously talented young man who possessed the skills and potentials to be a great hockey player.
He had seven goals and 12 points in 14 games played this season in KHL, including the first goal in today's game.
Cherepanov played 106 games during his career in the KHL/RSL (Russian Super League), all with Avangard Omsk and scored 40 goals with 29 assists over that span. He set the RSL record for goals by a rookie with 18, beating the previous mark held by Pavel Bure (17 goals), during the 2006-07 season. His total of 29 points in his rookie campaign was more than Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk during their first initial RSL seasons.
Cherepanov helped lead Russia to a Bronze Medal at the World Junior Championships in 2008, scoring three goals and adding three assists with a plus-three rating over his six games at the tournament.
We here at LLR mourn the passing of this young talent.