We at NHLPens.com would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family, friends and fans of New York Ranger’s prospect Alexei Cherepanov. Selected by the New York Rangers 17th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the 19-year old Cherepanov collapsed on the bench near the end of the Avangard Omsk’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) game on Monday and died a short time later of an apparent heart attack.
Russian media is reporting that Cherepanov was involved in incidental contact with Jaromir Jagr while changing lines just prior to his collapse. However, it is unknown if this had anything to do with his collapse. An ambulence had reportedly already left the rink before he collapsed and had to be called back. Attempts to resuscitate the young player were unsuccessful. It is also unclear as to whether a working defibrillator was available or used.
New York Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather commented on the tragedy by stating, “We are extremely saddened by the tragic passing of Alexei. On behalf of the New York Rangers organization, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family. Alexei was an intelligent, energetic young man, with tremendous talent and an extremely bright future.”
Cherepanov had appeared in 14 games this season with the Omsk, registering 12-points (7G, 5A). He was 2nd on the team in goals and 4th in points and had an impressive 24.1 shooting percentage. He played alongside Jaromir Jagr, who reportedly had taken Cherepanov under his wing and was mentoring him.
Over his short career with the Russian Super League (RSL) and KHL with Avangard Omsk, he posted 69-points (40G, 29A) in 106-games. In 2006-07, he scored 18-goals and set the RSL record for most goals by a rookie. His record setting performance unseated Pavel Bure’s record of 17 set in 1988-89. Notching 29-points in his first season with Omsk, Cherepanov outscored Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk in their first RSL seasons. Internationally, Cherepanov represented Team Russia in several elite tournaments. He was most recently on the Russian bronze medal team in the 2008 world junior hockey championship, posting 6-points (3G, 3a) in 6-games. He was a rising star that would have most likely made his mark in the NHL in years to come. It is a terrible tragedy to see such a young athlete taken in the prime of his life.
Rest in Peace, Alexie….