On Thursday Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov made his first post in a blog he was going to write for the Russian publication Komsomolskay Pravda. I found the blog this morning and translated the post during lunch today, hoping to find time to post it before leaving work for the Rangers game tonight. Little did I know that my afternoon would be spent hoping against hope that reports I was reading from Russia were false. But as time went by message board rumors were confirmed by stories in the Russian press, which were confirmed by his agent, and ultimately the Rangers organization itself. Alexei Cherepanov is dead at the age of 19.
I don’t feel like going to a hockey game anymore. Instead I’ll go home and try to make sense of how something so tragic can happen to a 19-year old kid who’s dreams were all starting to come true.
It’ll take awhile for the true story of what happened today to come out. Until then, I’ll leave the rumor and speculation about collisions with teammates and missing ambulances and malfunctioning defibrillators to internet message boards. What we know right now is that the life of a vibrant and talented young man was cut way too short. Until we know more, I leave you with the first and only post in his blog.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates and fans from all across the world. Rest in peace, Alexei. It’s been a joy and a privilege to watch you play the game you loved.
The Siberian Express
Thursday, October 9, 2009 11:48
Greetings to all fans of Avangard. My name is Alexei Cherepanov. As of today I am starting my own online blog. In it I will answer your questions and communicate with you. To begin with I want to say thanks to everyone who supports us. The arena is always full, and it helps us greatly to play. I hope that together we will achieve a lot this season.
Currently we have three games on the road. It will be the first road trip under the leadership of [new head coach Wayne] Fleming. When he came to the team, he said “Now to us will be a new way. Give everything you’ve got, and together we’ll come out ahead.” With Fleming we spend less time practicing, but it is more intensive. We pay particular attention to our defensive game. And so our preparations for the away games went on as usual.
Recently we were told to come to games in business suits. This was done at the initiative of the “Council of Four”, as they have been named in the press. In it are included Sasha Svitov, Dima Ryabikin, Jagr and Anton Kuryanov. They talked with the coach and delivered this decision. I know that some of the guys had to buy suits. I had no such problem — in my closet hangs two complete suits. They’re from my time at the draft. So I only had to buy a coat.
This season there has been an important event — the arrival of Jagr. I generally consider him my fourth coach. He always gives me advice when something doesn’t work out. After practice I often remain with him and work on shooting. And he’s always ready to come to the aid of the other guys. Everyone sees that he’s very experienced in the game and wants to become a champion.
The atmosphere in our team is outstanding. The guys encourage one another. I, by the way, have made a playful wager with [Viktor] Aleksandrov. We have bet a block of chocolates, that I will become the best player at the upcoming junior championships. He doubts it. We’ll see which one of us is eating the chocolate after the championships. So everything with us is good. I hope that my goal scoring streak will last. I will make every effort to make it happen!
That’s all for now. We’ll see each other after the road trip! See you then!
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