10.14.2008

Another loss of life affecting the hockey world



Wow. Just after hockey fans were getting over the shock of Luc Bourdon's untimely death, Alexei Cherepanov has an unexpected collapse on the bench during an KHL game. Cherepanov played for Omsk, and last season had excited the NHL by breaking Pavel Bure's rookie record for goals in the Russian Elite League with 18 compared to Bure's 17. He was probably in line for a roster spot as soon as his contract with Omsk was up.

However, apparently, God (or fate, depending on whom you believe) has decided otherwise. In the past year, the hockey world has lost Mickey Renaud, Luc Bourdon, and now Cherepanov to tragic incidents that nobody could predict happening. I could go into the history of incidents like this throughout the NHL's history, but I've depressed myself enough.

Instead, I'll hit a more interesting note: Why does the KHL, a league with so much money, not have the proper medical equipment at the rink? I've seen reports that a defibrillator may have been able to say Cherepanov, and even if they decided to carry him out for speed, the safer option would have been a stretcher, had one been available in the building. I recently read a blog (for the life of me, I can't remember who wrote it, very sorry) about someone who played in an amateur men's league that experienced a shock much like this; another man on the ice had collapsed from a heart disease (may have been a heart attack) and died because the proper equipment could not be found. The blogger afterwards petitioned for the rink to acquire a defibrillator, and was successful. It was a very touching story, and it immediately rose to the top of my mind when I first heard of Cherepanov's death. I'm not going to bash the KHL for neglecting to take care of their players; obviously, they didn't expect anything on such a serious level, and neither did Alexei. However, if there had been a defibrillator, or perhaps other medical equipment in the room, a life could have been saved. This is another incident where professional and amateur sports leagues, players, and building managers need to hear about this, look at their own equipment, and realize that with a few simple upgrades, they could save many lives.

UPDATE: After finding this link on James Mirtle's blog, this may be the saddest story I've ever read involving hockey. Credits to the writers who translated this: Cherepanov's Tale.