The news broke earlier this afternoon on different sports websites: the 2007 first pick of the New York Rangers, Alexei Cherepanov, died today at the age of 19.
Playing for the Avangard Omsk, in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia, Cherepanov reportedly collapsed on the bench in the third period. The medical staff realized at that moment that his heart had stopped beating, as they tried to bring him back.
He has been brought to an hospital in Moscow, where his death has been pronounced.
According to TSN, Avangard Omsk head coach, Wayne Fleming, said he saw the young player collapsing on the bench, but did not recall anything that happened on the ice that could cause that.
TSN's sources also reported that the ambulance that was usually at disposition of the teams had already left, and had been called back again for Cherepanov.
Other reports say Cherepanov collided with Jaromir Jagr in the eighteenth minute of the third period, during a line change; and then collapsed once he got on the bench.
Questions arose from this unsuccessful rescue, and most question the proper work of the defibrillators used in the arena.
Cherepanov has been drafted on the first round by the New York Rangers in 2007,17th overall.
The one who held the nickname "Siberian Express" had an amazing rookie year, being more productive than Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk at their respective first years with the Super League.
He also surpassed Pavel Bure's record for the most scoring rookie. He was the most scoring player of his team, at the World Hockey Championship in 2007; and led his team to the Bronze Medal in 2008. He had one year left on his contract in the KHL, and most were looking forward to seeing him adapting to the NHL.
I'd like to address my deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans.