Thanksgiving downer

Alexei Cherepanov, the Rangers’ top pick in the 2007 draft, collapsed and died on th bench during a KHL game.

He was 19 freakin’ years old!

Pierre Mcguire loved this kid and couldn’t believe he was still there when the Rangers picked at 17 in the ’07 draft.

Stu Hackel’s story in the NY Times.

And Larry Brooks in the Post.

This is a mind-blower, profoundly depressing on what should be a happy day.


  1. doug says:

    I’m now hearing from laypress this was not HCM but early coronary artery disease? Very odd in a 19 year old. If the case, he was a ticking time bomb. . . poor thing.

  2. Sport Sirens says:

    Terrible news for hackey, but most of all for his family. We listen to the media and we find out he was a great kid, which makes it even worse.

    But this has to generate a positive result on the prevention side. We seem to see this happens a little more often in the past years. I remember a few young football players that dies of such collapses. It really surprises me considering all the medical attention these guys are getting. Are sports reaching such high level of intensity that the body sometimes can’t follow? You would think one of the top hockey prospects has been medically tested inside-out to identify any weakness to the hearth.

  3. RetroMikey says:

    Words cannot describe how I feel.
    My condolences to the Cherepanov family and friends in Russia and to the Rangers organization.
    Life is too short and too lose a very young man whose goal was to play for New York and in the NHL, it is very tragic.

    “We will win the Cup only with Carey Price in the nets”

  4. JasonM says:

    Terrible news. 🙁

    He was putting up greater numbers than Malkin, he had great praise from Mcguire, it’s a damn shame.

  5. teamplayer says:

    still remember when they interviewed him during the draft and they asked him through an interpreter if the reason he dropped so low was b/c of the russian transfer agreement… his response was about a minute long(in russian) then his translator summed it up saying “yes”
    very unfortunate and sad times for his family and friends, so much potential in this kids career, already had 12 pts in 14 games in the kontinental league

  6. chelios_24 says:

    Terrible. I totally remember this guy. I was anxiously awaiting his arrival in the NHL. He was gonna be quite special.

    on 100% they actually showed photage. Apparently he was talking with Jaromir Jagr after he just missed a great opporunity to score. Jagr was telling him that he can’t miss this type of opportunities…all of a sudden he collapsed. It was terrible..They showed him being carried …they look confused…Jagr was there…what a mess.

    God Bless his soul and give courage to his family!

  7. Big Bird says:

    My condolences to his family. Rest in peace.

  8. Spider-Man NL says:

    Really sad news, may he rest in peace.

  9. Laszlo says:

    What a tragedy. May he rest in peace.

    Vive le Bleu, Blanc et Rouge

  10. JB_15 says:

    Doug check your email:

    Anyway just wanted to add that I am pretty sure the molecular genetics of this disease have been mapped, and it is my personal opinion that pro athletes ought to be subjected to a genetic screen at the very start of their career to identify these sorts of problems earlier. It would only be a matter of a blood test, and would be an excellent use of the millions of dollars in revenue. It would also save precious young lives.

  11. Kristopher7 says:

    19 🙁

  12. 24 Cups says:

    I have been out golfing all day and have just come home to read this startling information. Life can be such a fine line at times. My heart felt condolences go out to his family and friends.

    Going for the Brass Ring – 25 Cups in 100 Years

  13. RussianHab says:

    Sad. As a Russian, these situations are all to familiar in Russia. I am not surprised the ambulance left before the game was over. I am not surprised the defibrillators were not functioning properly.
    There is no guarantee it would have save Alex, but how could they look in his parents eyes now?!
    The league based on money and nothing else – if properly done, things like that are the important ones and not how big the arena is or how big the salary is.
    My heart goes to his family as it is unthinkable loss. I hope there is an investigation and it does not happen again when there is no appropriate help when it is needed.
    I hope our guys who knew him will be ok, as it is tough one to swallow.
    Пусть земля тебе будет пухом Лёша.

  14. Moey says:

    Very tragic, one small consolation is that he died doing what he loved.

  15. ChuckS20 says:

    Same thing happened to my friend at the age of 17. Brain aneurysm while sitting on the bench. He got hit by a puck while drinking water between shifts and then collapsed and was later declared dead at the hospital. He had just been drafted by St-Jean in the Q. Sometimes, these things happen. Too bad. Too soon.

  16. Yeats says:


    Thanks for bringing your expertise to what might have happened to this young athlete. It’s just horrible, horrible news and makes you think that all of us live on “borrowed” time. My thoughts go out to his family.

  17. Dintrox says:

    What a horrible incident? I have read that the ambulance had left and needed to be called back. There are also questions arising about the defibs on site. I think that defibs. should be required in arenas, gyms, schools, rec centers etc. and have annual checks to ensure they work.

    very shocking indeed……..

  18. Ali says:

    thanks Doug. I asked since there is speculation he collapsed after a collision with Jagr. Very sad stuff.

  19. gohabzzzz says:

    O my god, this is terrible. I can’t believe this…….I don’t want to believe this..

  20. G-Man says:

    So young. So sad.

    2008/09 is the season of the Habs

  21. doug says:

    Hi Ali –

    If you catch it beforehand there are medical or surgical/procedural options. Regarding the latter, you can literally cut out some of the extra muscle that causes the obstruction just below the aortic valve in what’s called a “septal myomectomy” or some people have tried to ablate it using catheters and injecting materials to decrease the size. Patients often have a internal defibrillator +/- pacemaker placed to shock them should they go into cardiac arrest. They’re also place on medicines to decrease the contractility of the ventricle such as beta blockers. After diagnosed you are to avoid strenuous exercise for life.

    In terms of exacerbation by collision, it usually just happens on its own when exercising hard. Cardiac arrest caused by blunt blows to the chest can happen to any heart; this one doesn’t need a precipitant.

  22. usversusthem says:

    Man, it’s always weird for me to realize (I’m 20) that NHL players are younger than me… but to have a guy like this actually die is really depressing. It’s also kind of ironic given that he dropped because teams assumed he might never come over to play in North America… and in the end, he didn’t. Unbelievably sad, anyway, for a kid that young to die, especially from a hockey game. I feel for his family…

  23. Ali says:

    thanks for the info Doug, its just goes to show despite how tough these guys are how delicate the human body is. Can any of this be exarcobated by a collision? Or can it just happen on its own? And is there any way to prevent this from happening in the future by diagnosis?

  24. doug says:

    I am cautious to medicalize this when it doesn’t matter, but it was probably caused by a condition called idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis (IHSS), a variant of hypertrophic cardiomypathy in which the wall of the septum separating the left and right ventricles is enlarged for reasons that are not known and can obstruct blood flow. It’s associated with sudden cardiac arrest, especially amongst athletes who tend to have more muscular hearts and can worsent the symptoms.

    Those below who speculated that this was the same thing that Jiri Fischer was fortunate to survive were probably correct. Other notable athletes included Hank Gathers (an NCAA star projected to be a top caliber NBA player), Reggie Lewis (95% sure this is what he had, was star for the Boston Celtics), former Hab Sergei Zholtok, Kevin Duckworth (NBA), and Windsor Spitfires prospect Mickey Renaud. Almost always the cause of cardiac arrest in a young man.

    What a terrible day, and again, I hesitated to write this because as per my post below his death is devastating and I didn’t want to come in here and play doctor, but thought some might be interested and chose to post.

    RIP Alexei.

  25. J.T. says:

    Poor, poor boy. And his poor family. I don’t know where they’ll find comfort, but I hope they can, somehow.

  26. ryantheduke says:

    so sad.. i remember that draft day too.

  27. doug says:

    Oh my God. . . this is horrifying. I remember as he sat with his family waiting to be drafted a couple of years ago when his stock inexplicably dropped. I was selfishly looking forward to seeing his dazzling talent in an NHL game in the next couple of years. . . and now this.

    My heart goes out to his friends and his family. What a horrific tragedy. There goes my day. RIP Alexei: you died way, way, way too young.

  28. BIG-D says:

    God bless him and his family.

  29. T-roy West says:

    Way to young to leave us. A very sad day indeed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. God bless you Alexei.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.