Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Two years ago today, the hockey world lost talented Russian teenager Alexei Cherepanov. The electrifying right wing who the Rangers selected 17th overall in 2007 was only 19 when he collapsed on the bench next to Avangard Omsk teammate Jaromir Jagr in a KHL game versus Vityaz Chekov. The rest is a tragic tale of a young man who died too soon due to a faulty defribillator and a late ambulance. Though they were able to revive his heart five times before he collapsed and died at the hospital. To this day, the cause of death remains debatable with a Russian investigator saying he suffered from chronic ischemia while other medical experts concluded that it was caused by hypertrophic cardiomyapathy (HCM). It was later determined that Cherepanov suffered from myocarditis (heart inflammation) and shouldn't have even been playing hockey. Hard to fathom since he passed his predraft medical exam. Regardless, a very gifted player who set a KHL record with a nine-game goal streak was gone way too soon and never got to fulfill his NHL dream and play for the Rangers. The KHL still honors him with its Rookie Of The Year Award named for him. In '06-07, Cherepanov set a rookie record with 18 goals and 11 assists for 29 points while also contributing three goals and five helpers in the playoffs. Today, we remember him. Say a prayer for his family.