Remembering Cherepanov
Monday November 03rd 2008, 8:10 am

The New York Rangers have posted what little video footage exists of Alexei Cherepanov as a Ranger in the On Demand section of their web site. Audio clips of his first interview with the New York press after being drafted in June 2007 are played over footage from his on-ice work outs during the 5-day development camp he attended following the draft.

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According to Ohio.com, Rangers Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark attended the funeral services for Cherepanov in Russia. They included the following quote from the Rangers official in their NHL Notebook:

”A few of us went over to the family’s apartment after the services,” said Clark. ”And right next to the TV, he had a Ranger sweater hanging up on the wall. Of all the stuff like that he had — his club teams in Russia, international tournaments he played in — it was the Ranger sweater he had hanging up there.

”This is a kid who knew what he wanted, had all the skills, and was intent on playing in North America next. Great kid. And no question, he would have played for us next season.”

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Former Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capital Ben Clymer is playing in the KHL this season for Dynamo Minsk, the team that had a the unenviable task of facing Avangard Omsk in their first game after Cherepanov’s death. He blogs about the experience for the Hockey News:

After the [TV] show, I walked down to Igor Ulanov’s room to hangout for a bit and found out he had watched the same show. He told me how Alexei’s favorite player was Jaromir Jagr and that when he heard Jagr was coming to Omsk, Cherepanov told the Rangers he was going to stay another year in Russia to play with his idol.

Ulanov also told me how Alexei’s goal was to score as often as Jagr did. As a matter of fact, during his final game, Cherepanov scored his eighth goal, tying him with Jagr.

When we got to the rink the next day and took to the ice I looked up and saw a huge 40×40 banner of Cherepanov. While it was a nice tribute to him, it was a scary reminder of how incredibly young he was. There was no music at all during the pre-game warmup and the rink was eerily silent throughout. Afterwards, Ulanov told me in the dressing room it was announced there was to be no music or cheering throughout the game in respect to Alexei and his family.

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Finally, a group of Cherepanov’s friends and fans in Russia have created a web site at www.lesha-forever.ru to honor his memory and help pressure officials to formally memorialize him. In addition to a 5-page photo album of photos from friends, family and the press, a page of videos honoring the 19-year old star, and a page if what is said to be his favorite music, there’s also a poll asking visitors how Cherepanov’s name should be immortalized: Rename Omsk Arena after him, name a street in Omsk after him, put up a monument to him outside the arena, do all three, or do nothing more than what’s already been done. The creators of the site are hoping to use the poll results and a petition drive they hope will spread beyond Omsk and across the country to help convince Omsk Governor Leonid Polezhaev to take action.

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1 Comment so far
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    A good way and may be more poignant way to remember Cherepanov would be forcing the buy of a decent defibrillator with Cherepanov’s name on it.

    Comment by Why...Oh why...Why,why 11.03.08 @ 11:10 pm



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