Tragedy has struck the Russian U18 league as Metallurg Novokuznetsk captain Alexander Orekhov has passed away after being hit in the neck with a puck during a Jan. 14 game.
Orekhov, 16, was struck with the puck in the second period of a game against Sibir Novosibirsk. According to Sport.sk, the shot that hit Orekhov struck him with enough force that it “damaged the carotid artery and broke several bones.” Orekhov collapsed on the ice and suffered cardiac arrest. He was resuscitated and taken to local hospital, at which point he was put into a medically induced coma.
After nearly three weeks in a coma, however, Orekhov passed away Tuesday.
“Today, (Alexander) died of his injuries,” Novokuznetsk’s Vladimir Rokkel told RSport.ru. “We just want to express my deepest condolences to the family This is an irreparable loss for the entire hockey.”
Metallurg released a statement Tuesday following Orekhov’s death, saying the team “expressed deep condolences to the family, friends, teammates,” and said the team mourns with those who are grieving Orekhov’s death.
Orekhov’s junior career had really just begun. Prior to this season, he had appeared in the Russian U16 tournament, where he notched one goal and five points in six games. He had managed eight goals and nine points in 18 games during his first season in the U18 league, and was already his junior club’s captain.