Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/25/10 at 12:42 AM ET
from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
Imagine watching one of your players dying. New Lightning assistant coach Wayne Fleming always will have that memory.
As coach of Avangard Omsk in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, Fleming saw one of his most gifted players, forward Aleksei Cherepanov, collapse into the arms of teammate Jaromir Jagr on the bench near the end of an Oct. 13, 2008, game against Vityav Chekov.
Team doctors tried on the bench and in the dressing room to revive Cherepanov, 19, who died that night at a local hospital of an apparent heart attack….
Is there anything you take from what happened?
From a team perspective, it was like taking a crystal vase and dropping it on the concrete floor and trying to pick up the shattered pieces. It was devastating. But it was the individual, too, that passed away. The thing that really hurts is not only do we lose a great player, we’re missing just a fantastic young man. He had a great smile on his face. He was the golden boy of the KHL.
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