Prosecutors blame arena manager, club director; unknown if charges to be filed

Updated: December 2, 2008, 10:18 AM ET
Associated Press

MOSCOW -- Moscow regional prosecutors said an ice arena manager and a hockey club director were negligent in the death of rising Russian star Alexei Cherepanov.

Alexei Cherepanov
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesAlexei Cherepanov, the top-ranked European player in the 2007 draft, was the Rangers' first-round pick that year.

Prosecutors said in a statement posted on their Web site on Tuesday that the manager of the Moscow region arena where Cherepanov was playing failed to coordinate proper emergency medical services before the game.

The 19-year-old Cherepanov collapsed Oct. 13 while on the bench for Omsk club Avangard in Russia's Continental Hockey League, or KHL. The player, a top prospect for the NHL's New York Rangers, died a short time later.

Investigators said Cherepanov apparently had chronic ischemia -- a medical condition where not enough blood gets to the heart or other organs. They said that calls into question the competency of arena manager Yury Afonkin and the director of opposing club KHL club Vityaz. The club director, Mikhail Denisov, has already been fired.

Arena officials couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Prosecutors did not say whether they were planning to file criminal charges.

Last month, KHL officials said results of a preliminary investigation showed emergency medical personnel acted properly in treating Cherepanov after his collapse.

A comprehensive forensics examination is continuing.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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