A Huge Loss: New York Rangers Prospect Alexei Cherepanov Dies At Age 19

Jack PorterCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2008

New York Ranger prospect Alexei Cherepanov collapsed on the bench at the end of Omsk's Kontinental Hockey League game and died a short time later. Omsk head coach, Wayne Fleming said Cherepanov collapsed on the bench during the third period of the game and hadn't seen anything on the ice that may have been the cause.

The ambulance that is normally at all games had already departed and had to be called back. Medics tried to revive Alexei but were unsuccessful. Also there is some concern as to  whether defibrillators at the arena were in working condition.

Cherepanov played 106 games during his career in the KHL with Avangard Omsk and scored 40 goals with 29 assists.

He set the KHL ( called Russian Super League at the time) record for goals by a rookie with 18, surpassing the previous record of 17 goals held by Russian great Pavel Bure. Also during his rookie season in the KHL (2006-07 season), his total of 29 points was more than Evgeni Malkin(12), Ilya Kovalchuk (3) and Alex Ovechkin (16) during their first KHL seasons.

Cherepanov also helped Russia win a Bronze Medal at the World Junior Championships in 2008. He scored three goals and added three assists in his six games at the tournament.

"We are extremely saddened by the tragic passing of Alexei," said New York Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather. "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 was drafted by the Rangers in the 1st round, 17th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Alexei Cherepanov

Age 19