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Prospect Cherepanov Passes Away at 19

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather regretfully announced today that forward Alexei Cherepanov passed away during a game in Russia on Monday evening.  Cherepanov was 19 years old.

Alexei Cherepanov attended the Rangers Prospect Development Camp just days after being taken in the first round of the June 2007 NHL Entry Draft in Columbus.
“We are extremely saddened by the tragic passing of Alexei,” said 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 appeared in 14 games with Avangard Omsk of the Continental Hockey League (KHL) this season, registering seven goals and five assists for 12 points.  He ranked second on the team in goals (seven) and fourth in points (12).  He also ranked third on the team with a 24.1% shooting percentage.

The 6-1, 187-pounder appeared in 106 career Russian Super League (RSL)/KHL matches with Avangard Omsk, collecting 40 goals and 29 assists for 69 points, along with 61 penalty minutes.  Last season, Cherepanov established a career-high in assists (13) while finishing fourth on the club in points (28).  In 2006-07, he set the RSL record for most goals by a rookie (18), eclipsing Pavel Bure’s mark (17) set in 1988-89 with the Red Army (CSKA Moscow). 

With 29 points in his first season with Omsk, Cherepanov recorded more points than Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin and Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk each tallied in their first RSL season.

Internationally, Cherepanov represented Team Russia in several elite tournaments.  Most recently, he helped lead Russia to a Bronze Medal in the 2008 U-20 World Junior Championships, tallying three goals and three assists for six points and a plus-three rating in six games.  In 2007, Cherepanov earned Top Forward honors by the Directorate and was selected to the All-Tournament Team at the 2007 U-20 World Junior Championships, where he led all players in scoring with eight points (five goals and three assists) in six games and helped Team Russia capture a Silver Medal.

The Barnaul, Russia native was originally the Rangers’ first round choice, 17th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
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