The Alexei Cherepanov Tragedy Shows That Vladislav Tretiak Is Dreaming

Vladislav Tretiak, the great Russian goalie who gave fits to Team Canada in 1972 and the Montreal Canadiens on New Year’s Eve, 1975, is a proud Russian, and as President of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, desparately wants his country to be a real hockey country.

 In fact, he’s predicting the new Russian league, the Continental Hockey League (KHL), will soon be as good as the NHL in all aspects. The money’s there, Jaromir Jagr’s there, and the crowds are sort of there.

 What’s not there, it seems, are ambulances and parametics. And without crucial intangibles like that, the KHL doesn’t stand a chance in hell of ever been the equal of the National Hockey League.

The incredible tragedy of 19 year old Russian star Alexei Cherepanov only points out that the Russians may never really get it. The night his heart stopped while sitting on the bench of his team Avangard Omsk, the parametics had already left the building and had to be called back, which of course meant they took too long.

 How come they left? Was it break time?

 There was no defibrillator in the arena. Nobody had thought that maybe there should be. And papers are saying that the emergency doctors who finally got around to taking Cherepanov to the hospital were later assaulted and beaten up by thugs. What’s that all about?

 It’s all very sinister. And a young fellow with major talent, with his whole life ahead of him, who was going to be the next Pavel Bure or Alex Ovechkin, died. It’s not only incredibly sad, but unforgivable the way the situation was handled.

 I’ve been to several games in Russia involving Moscow Red Army, St. Petersburg SKA, and other Super League teams, and it’s definitely not the NHL over there. I don’t know what the KHL looks like, but it can’t be a whole lot different than what I saw. And what I saw didn’t even come close to the NHL. Not by a country mile. It didn’t even come close to a major Junior A game.

 Atmosphere, the hockey, the cheerleaders, whatever. Not even close.

 If Tretiak thinks the league there will compete with the NHL, he and the rest have a lot of work to do.

 In the meantime, maybe they should think a little harder about having medical staff on hand when thousands of people are in the stands, and players are playing a physical game.

 It makes sense to most of us. Why didn’t it to the Russians?

7 thoughts on “The Alexei Cherepanov Tragedy Shows That Vladislav Tretiak Is Dreaming”

  1. Dennis,
    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now along with the boys at 4HF. Really enjoy everything you guys put up, but I’m getting a little sick of this Cherapanov stuff.

    He had HOCM. HOCM is bad. HOCM is virtually impossible to detect unless you have an echocardiogram. Once patients with HOCM have a cardiac arrest, they die. It’s that simple. They are virtually impossible to resuscitate. Whether there was an ambulance, a defibrillator, or a doctor in the building wouldn’t have mattered a single bit.

    This criticism of the KHL is ridiciculous. This same situation could easily happen in the NHL on any given day to any player. Unless teams are prepared to perform echocardiograms on every one of their players there really isn’t an effective way of stopping this from happening.

    Columns like the one you wrote, and the criticism that TSN and the media is directing at the KHL is simply put, out of line and ignorant of the medical condition that Cherapanov had.

  2. It’s only me who writes the posts on this site. (Every day).
    And it’s not out of line to expect medical staff to be there, regardless of his condition.

  3. yes Dennis, regardless of his condition there should be proper equipment and medical staff available for the players,its great to have a defibrillator available, and great if you never have to use it

  4. The point I was making though, is that criticism of the KHL for this particular event is unwarranted.
    Cherapanov would have been dead no matter what they had there.

  5. And the point I made was that the NHL would have had lots of medical staff at games, but in the Continental League, at least in this game, they were gone. Regardless of the kid’s condition, there should have been help there. If this league wants to be as good as the NHL, they have much work to do and this incident makes this clear.
    That’s my point. Seemed pretty clear at the time.

  6. Great piece!
    The Cherepanov and Bourdon accidents are tragic, for their families and the NHL. The question is whether these accidents can be prevented in the future. Maybe better testing on the NHL’s part for the Cherepanov situation and educating the players (youngsters) on dangerous activities such as motorcycle etc… Just seems like more should/can be done to prevent tragedies like these from occuring in the future…. and it is ridiculous how the Rangers are seeking another pick to replace Cherepanov. My thoughts.

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