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Born January 15, 1989(1989-01-15),
Ozerki, Altai Krai, USSR
Died October 13, 2008 (aged 19),
Chekhov, Moscow, RUS
6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
183 lb (83 kg; 13 st 1 lb)
Position Right wing
Shot Left
Pro clubs Avangard Omsk
NHL Draft 17th overall, 2007
New York Rangers
Career 2006 – 2008

Alexei Andreyevich Cherepanov (Russian: Алексей Андреевич Черепанов; January 15, 1989 – October 13, 2008) was a Russian professional ice hockey winger who played for Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL) drafted Cherepanov with their first selection, seventeenth overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Cherepanov represented Russia in three international tournaments, winning a gold medal at the IIHF World U18 Championships and a silver medal and a bronze medal at the IIHF World U20 Championship. He died at the age of nineteen after collapsing on the bench during a regular season game in the KHL.


Playing career

Nicknamed the Siberian Express, Cherepanov was in his third season with Avangard, a team in southwestern Siberia. In his rookie season in the Russian Superleague, Cherepanov had more points than now-National Hockey League (NHL) stars Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk did respectively, at the age of 17.[1] In March 2007, Cherepanov surpassed the Russian league rookie goal scoring record previously held by Pavel Bure (17 goals).[2]

On June 22, 2007, Cherepanov was drafted in the 1st round, 17th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, despite being considered by many rankings to be a top five prospect, and the top European available. Among the reasons offered by analysts for his lingering in the draft was the lack of a new transfer agreement between the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) concerning players in the Russian Hockey Federation.

On November 5, 2007, Cherepanov was named RSL Newcomer of the Year for the '06-'07 Season.[3]

Going into the 2008–09 KHL season, Cherepanov had one year remaining on his contract with Omsk. The Rangers had been hoping to bring Cherepanov to New York for the club's prospect evaluation camp or training camp, but with the lack of a formal transfer agreement between the NHL and International Ice Hockey Federation, Cherepanov remained in Russia, with the Rangers hoping to sign him in 2009.

On October 3, 2008, Alexei tied the Avangard Omsk goal scoring streak record with goals in 6 consecutive games.[4]

International play

Medal record
Competitor for  Russia
Men's ice hockey
World Junior Championship
Silver 2007 Leksand Ice hockey
Bronze 2008 Pardubice Ice hockey
World U18 Championships
Gold 2007 Tampere Ice hockey

Cherepanov represented Russia at the 2007 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. Along with winning a silver medal, he was named to the tournament's all-star team, as well as earning the award for best forward.

During the 2007 IIHF World U18 Championships Cherepanov lead Russia to a gold medal, in the final against USA he scored one goal to give Russia the lead early in the third period.[5] Cherepanov was selected to the media all-star team,[6] in total he scored five goals, tied for second in the tournament,[7] and his eight point total was second to Nikita Filatov's nine points as scoring leader for team Russia.[8]

During game two of the 2007 Super Series between Russia and Canada, Cherepanov collided with Canadian forward Brandon Sutter and suffered a concussion. The next day it was reported that he would be out for the remainder of the eight-game series.[9] Team Russia was winless for the remainder of the series.

Cherepanov led Russia to a bronze medal at the 2008 World Junior Championships, and had three points in the medal winning 4–2 victory over the United States.[10]


Cherepanov died in Chekhov, Russia on October 13, 2008 after collapsing on the bench during a Kontinental Hockey League game with his club Avangard Omsk against Vityaz Chekhov. He played a shift with teammate Jaromír Jágr, and the two were talking on the bench shortly after they left the ice, when he suddenly collapsed.[11] After being attended to on the bench, he was carried to the dressing room where he was revived for several brief moments before finally being rushed to an intensive care unit,[12] but it was too late. The ambulance that is normally at all games had already departed and had to be called back; doctors arrived on the scene a full 12 minutes after Cherepanov collapsed, and the battery on the defibrillator used to attempt to shock Cherepanov's heart back to life was drained.[13] It took approximately 20 minutes to get him to a hospital.[1][14] While in the care of Chekhov doctors, he was again resuscitated briefly on two occasions, before ultimately passing.

The exact cause of his death was originally a cause of dispute, with a regional investigator citing he was diagnosed with chronic ischemia,[15] but medical professionals and league sources stated it was caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).[16][17] Russian lawmakers said the following day that there would be investigations of negligence on the part of the responding paramedics, with the possibility of a criminal investigation being opened as well.[15]

On December 29, 2008, Russian investigators revealed that he suffered from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, and that he should not have been playing professional hockey, however this has been disputed by the NHL after Cherepanov's testing at the NHL Combine. The federal Investigative Committee also announced that a chemical analysis of Cherepanov's blood and urine samples allowed experts to conclude "that for several months Alexei Cherepanov engaged in doping".[13] Official sources have stated the banned substance taken was nikethamide, a stimulant, and that it had been taken 3 hours prior to the game in which he passed.[18] A report by the Investigative Committee stated that "It is impossible to determine how and with what aim this medicine was administered." The same report also revealed that Cherepanov was not doping but was instead using cordiaminum probably used to treat his condition.[19] As of 2009, nobody has been charged relating to the death of Cherepanov, however the President, General Manager, as well as a team doctor for Avangard Omsk have all been suspended from the KHL indefinitely. Another Avangard doctor was suspended for 2 years, and the president of the host team Vityaz was suspended from the league indefinitely over health related complaints.[20]


His former team, Avangard, has built a memorial museum to honor his life.[21] His number, 7, has also been retired by the club.

The National Hockey League awarded the New York Rangers a compensatory draft pick (the 17th pick of the 2nd round) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft as a result of his death.

Career statistics


Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts +/− PIM GP G A Pts +/− PIM
2006–07 Avangard Omsk RSL 46 18 11 29 +14 45 10 3 5 8 +1 0
2007–08 Avangard Omsk RSL 46 15 13 28 +5 12 4 2 1 3 +2 0
2008–09 Avangard Omsk KHL 15 8 5 13 +2 6
RSL/KHL totals 107 41 29 70 +21 63 14 5 6 11 +3 0

International statistics

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts +/− PIM
2007 Russia WJC U18 7 5 3 8 0 6
2007 Russia WJC 6 5 3 8 +2 2
2008 Russia WJC 6 3 3 6 +3 2
Totals 19 13 9 22 +5 10

See also


  1. ^ a b "Prospect Cherepanov Passes Away at 19". 2008-10-13.  
  2. ^ Meltzer, Bill (2008-03-13). "Cherepanov Fondly Remembered". Retrieved 2008-10-14.  
  3. ^ ""Матч звезд": шоу для тех, кто пришел" (in Russian). 2007-11-05. Retrieved 2007-11-05.  
  4. ^ "Черепанов повторяет рекорд Затонского" (in Russian). 2008-10-03.  
  5. ^ "PLAY-OFF ROUND GOLD MEDAL GAME GAME 31". IIHF. 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2008-12-30.  
  6. ^ "MEDIA ALL STARS". IIHF. 2007-04-22. Retrieved 2008-12-30.  
  7. ^ "GOAL SCORING LEADERS". IIHF. 2007-04-22. Retrieved 2008-12-30.  
  8. ^ "PLAYER STATISTICS BY TEAM". IIHF. 2007-04-22. Retrieved 2008-12-30.  
  9. ^ "Cherepanov out for remainder of Series". The Sports Network. 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2007-08-31.  
  10. ^ "Cherepanov leads Russia to WJC bronze". 2008-01-05.  
  11. ^ "Investigator: Hockey player had heart problems". Associated Press. 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-10-15.  
  12. ^ "Черепанов потерял сознание во время матча с «Витязем»" (in Russian). 2008-10-13.  
  13. ^ a b "Russian investigators say Cherepanov was 'doping'". The Sports Network. 2008-12-29.  
  14. ^ "Ranger Prospect Cherepanov Dies During KHL Game". The Sports Network. 2008-10-13.  
  15. ^ a b "Lawmaker: Cherepanov may have died due to negligence:". The Sports Network. 2008-10-14.  
  16. ^ "Комиссия КХЛ выясняет обстоятельства смерти Алексея Черепанова:" (in Russian). KHL. 2008-10-13.  
  17. ^ "Cherepanov's death still a mystery:". The Sports Network. 2008-10-15.  
  18. ^ "Заявление Континентальной хоккейной лиги по итогам расследования обстоятельств смерти хоккеиста Алексея Черепанова". 2008-12-30.  
  19. ^ "Probe: Team doctors not to blame". 16 July 2009.  
  20. ^ "New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov's death not blamed on team doctors, probe finds". ESPN. 2009-07-16.  
  21. ^

External links


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