K. Velyakov of Soviet Sport offers his account of the events surrounding Alexei Cherepanov’s collapse in the Moscow suburb of Checkov on Monday night.
The third period comes to an end. On the board is 17:35. Omsk is losing 4:5. The referee suddenly stops play, and everyone goes to the Avangard bench. On it visiting forward Alexei Cherepanov lays on the floor, and the other players and coaches crowd around him. The Vityaz players approach the bench. Hockey has come to an end. The doctor brings ammonium chloride to Cherepanov’s nose, trying to bring him around. It’s useless. Nobody can understand what has happened. For three minutes the doctors work with Alexei. The boy regains consciousness, goes out again.
- “Where’s the ambulance?!” – someone from the Omsk staff shouts.
Someone runs for the ambulance, but it’s not there.
It’s called for. It will only arrive after 15 minutes…
They carry Cherepanov away in their arms. Jaromir Jagr removes his helmet and gloves, runs to the locker room and from it, already without skates, rushes to the medical office, where his teammate lies on the bed without breath. For the Czech, the game has ended.
- “A player sat on the bench and suddenly passed out” – the head coach of Vityaz Sergei Gomolyako’s face is blank. Nobody thinks about the post game press conference now. How terrible!
- “He regained consciousness five times, then lost it again, and then did not did not come to his senses any more” – the TV men who were beside the Omsk bench relate.
Later, five minutes after the end of the game arrives the ambulance. Batteries of the defibrillator appear to be discharged.
- “Damned town!” – the video operator of the Omsk cries. – “How long can one wait for them!”
In the street at the ambulance in his game uniform stands Jagr.
- “He sat next to me and suddenly passed out.” – Jagr says through tears.
- What happened to him?
- “His heart stopped…”
Understanding that he can do nothing to help, the great Czech moves to the side, and, having lowered his head, leans against the wall of the arena.
The doctors put Cherepanov on a stretcher. Try to breathe life into the boy. Perform CPR. It is useless. Blood starts to trickle from Cherepanov’s nose. Two hundred fans surround the ambulance. Everyone is silent. Anton Kuryanov, flying out to the street directly from the shower, can’t hold back tears. In his eyes four hospital attendants enter the ambulance with Alexei on a stretcher. The door is closed. The sirens are turned on. The ambulance speeds away to a Chekhov hospital. The people watching the scene for a long time stand numb at the side of the arena.
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