This has been a catastrophic year for the NHL and their prominent rookies. Luc Bourdon and Alexei Cherepanov, both first round picks had their lives cut short unpredictably from accidents that arguably, could have been prevented.
The death of Alexei Cherepanov is an incredibly tragic one. This promising rookie for the New York Rangers was only 19yrs old with a full life ahead of him. He was suffering from chronic ischemia which was not detected and eventually led to his heart attack during a game in the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) playing for the Avangard Omsk.
Earlier this year in May, Luc Bourdon was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. A first round pick by the Vancouver Canucks, Bourdon was a fan favourite here in Vancouver. Having won the gold medal in the World Junior Hockey Championship hosted in Vancouver, everyone was anticipating great things from this player in his career. Unfortunately, his motorcycle riding hobby cost him his life.
What can be done:
In the case of Luc Bourdon, I think NHL and the organizations need to spend time educating their young players. Teaching them that they have too much to lose to venture in these dangerous activities. I know in NHL contracts, the players are prohibited from doing certain recreational events and if caught they will be suspended or fined. I am not too sure how contracts work and if all players are under the same clause, but there should be something to prevent them from partaking in certain activities. They have too much invested in these players and they should do anything they can to make sure they are safe. Ben Roethlisberger almost lost his life to a motorcycle accident as well. This has happened too often to be ignored.
Alexei Cherepanov had an existing heart condition that was never detected during any physicals in Russia and North America. It is really amazing with the amount of tests the players go through, they missed his heart condition. David Carle had to quit hockey due to his medical condition which was detected early enough to prevent a tragedy unlike Cherepanov. If Cherepanov's condition was detected then the misfortune could have been prevented. Maybe more detailed testing? I am not an expert on the tests players go through, but obviously it was not detailed enough for them to miss Cherepanov's heart problem.
Now the New York Rangers are seeking compensation from the NHL to reselect their no.17 pick in the 2nd round of the 2009 NHL Draft. I haven't heard anything about the Canucks and if they want to or will proceed in asking for a compensation for Luc Bourdon. These situations are separate, but I know hockey is a business, but I can't believe the Rangers is asking for another pick. How can you ask for "compensation" for a person's death. Its not like insurance where the family receives money for a person's injury, but they are treating him as an object commodity that they wish to replace. Not cool NYRangers.
This blogger piece agrees with my thoughts on the Rangers:Cherepanov situation as he/she explains it in a different manner.