Doctors, team officials banned from KHL
Russia's Continental Hockey League has banned five team executives and doctors, four of them indefinitely, for their roles in connection with the death last October of New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov.The men -- including the former team president and general manager of Avangard Omsk, the team Cherepanov was playing for, and two team doctors -- were banned following a KHL investigation, which concluded that the parties involved "exhibited criminal negligence" in their duties and knowingly tried to treat Cherepanov's life-threatening heart condition on their own.
The team doctors of Avangard tried to treat Alexei on their own. What the press described as systematic doping was an attempt to cure Alexei's heart condition.
--KHL medical director Nikolai Durmanov
The league also clarified earlier media reports that stated Cherepanov had been using performance-enhancing drugs, explaining that what had been reported as doping was in fact an attempt to treat Cherepanov's heart condition.
Cherepanov's agent, Jay Grossman, declined comment when contacted by ESPN.com.
Cherepanov, 19, collapsed Oct. 13 while on the bench for Avangard Omsk and died a short time later. The league said Friday that Cherepanov had suffered from chronic myocarditis and that the cause of his death was acute heart failure."We are convinced that the following participants exhibited criminal negligence in the performance of their duties. Our sanctions are harsh, but we are confident that prosecutors in both the Omsk region and Chekhov district will also make their decision regarding this case," KHL vice president of hockey operations Vladimir Shalaev said Friday, according to a league news release. "I believe that those responsible will receive not only sanctions regarding their future participation in sports, but that they will also be indicted on criminal charges." Suspended and "indefinitely denied the right to occupy any position in any club of the KHL or in any structure of KHL" were former Avangard president Konstantin Potapov; general manager Anatoly Bardin; team doctor Sergei Belkin; and former Vityaz team director Mikhail Denisov, according to the KHL.
ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun contributed information to this story.