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14 Nov, 2008 15:19

Hockey prodigy’s death – who’s to blame?

It's been a month since the death of Russian ice hockey star Aleksey Cherepanov, but the cause of the teenager's death has still not been clarified. However, Continental Hockey League (KHL) officials have said no blame should be attached to his doctors.

The guilty party, if any, will be determined by the end of November.

Nicknamed the ‘Siberian Express’, Cherepanov was just 19 years old. He played for one of Russia's strongest teams and was voted the league's best rookie last year.

The Avangard Omsk forward wanted to test himself in the NHL and became the first round pick for the New York Rangers, but that dream was cut short two minutes before the end of a KHL regular season game in the Moscow region when his heart stopped.

The cause of death of Russia’s most promising player is still under investigation. The most popular reason is that it was a pre-existing condition which was hard to diagnose.

The KHL made note of that fact and initiated a thorough medical check for the youngest players in the league. Vladimir Shalayev, the KHL Vice President says 67 players took medicals during the November break.

“We used state-of-the-art equipment, technologies and methods. Now, we have a comprehensive database on these 67 players’ physical condition. We’ll actually test all the KHL players by the end of the season. We will certify and provide the necessary passport for every KHL player who has a professional contract with the league,” he said.

However, the question of who's to blame for the tragic death of Cherepanov remains unanswered. The first heads rolled in the immediate aftermath of that match.

The general director of the sports arena who allegedly failed to arrange for an ambulance to be in attendance at the match was the first to go.

The investigation will last until the end of November.

According to Shalayev, investigators believe there is a need for further investigation into Cherepanov’s death:

“The investigation team made a decision to add more specialists in various fields to the initial group of forensic experts for a deeper and more thorough examination. As of today, we can say definitely that no blame is attributed to ambulance paramedics, local doctors at the Sports Palace in Chekhov, and Avangard’s team doctors. All these medics were very professional and did everything they could.”