Monday, December 29, 2008

We are Not Dopes

It does not matter which report you look at because in the end they all make the said accusation; Alexi Cherepanov was "blood doping" and that was part of why he died.

I am not fan of the Avangard Omsk, heck I don't have a problem acknowledging that I think that franchise is as bush league as one gets. However I doubt that they would have turned a blind eye to any possible sign that one of their players was cheating.

First off, Avangard as a team playing in the Champion's Hockey League (the one run by the IIHF) would have had their players subjected to IIHF testing which is the same standards as those for the Olympic games.

Second, The accusation that Cherepanov was doing this for several months would also mean that the Russian Hockey Federation was also turning a blind eye to any cheating by Cherepanov. That Cherepanov was a member of the Russian Under-20 team would have also subjected Cherepanov to those same IIHF tests. You want to tell me that former Ranger Sergei Nemchinov would have turned into a cheat?

Our friends with the IIHF issued this response to the report from the "Investigation Committee of the General Prosecutors Office":

A report by the Russian news and information agency, Novosti, indicates that according to the Investigation Committee of the General Prosecutors Office, paramedics did not give the appropriate treatment to Cherepanov when the 19-year-old right wing for Avangard Omsk collapsed on the bench during a KHL game versus Vityaz Chekhov and later died.

In addition, the Novosti report mentions that investigators found Cherepanov suffered from chronic myocarditis, a condition in which insufficient blood reaches the heart.

The investigators stated: “The death was directly caused by a serious cardiovascular condition. No traces of alcohol or drugs were found in his blood and urine, however, tests for chemicals showed that Alexei Cherepanov had been using stimulants for several months.”

IIHF Chief Medical Officer Mark Aubry said: “The sport of ice hockey requires a lot of skill, and doping does not really help athletes improve their performance. The IIHF conducts frequent out-of-competition and in-competition doping control tests prior to and during IIHF events. We have had very few positive tests over the last few years. Between the 2003-04 and 2007-08 seasons, 1,298 in-competition tests were conducted, with a total of 10 positive results. Between 2004 and 2007, the IIHF, in conjunction with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the national anti-doping agencies, performed 14,506 out-of-competition tests, with a total of 56 positive results.

Having said that, there will still be athletes who will try to cheat and think that taking a banned substance may improve their performance. This case may also be an example of the detrimental effects of doping in sport.”

FOOTNOTE: The IIHF conducts frequent out-of-competition and in-competition doping control tests prior to and during IIHF events, such as the Olympics, the IIHF World Championships (all categories) and IIHF club competitions such as the Champions Hockey League. The national anti-doping agencies are responsible for testing within domestic leagues.

Now here is something else to point out as well; IF Cherepanov had tried to "cheat" using blood doping, how could he have beaten not one, not two but three different systems designed to test for cheating?

Answer is that he could not have as there is no way you can convince me that Avangard would not have caught it (even if they tried to cover it up there would have been a trail of evidence), there is no way that either the CHL or the IIHF would have not reported any effort to cheat by Cherepanov.

A lawyer friend when I was venting about this nonsense said that it is typical to blame the victim. A victim can not defend himself if he is already dead so the quick way to get people to think all is OK is to blame that victim.

Look the reality is this: Cherepanov had an undetected heart condition. Yes there was issues with the medical response but truth be told that even under the most ideal situations that the odds of saving Cherepanov suffering from HCM were very slim.

Sorry if this sounds so cold but it is the reality as Mickey Renaud could not be saved and his response was first rate. Jiri Fischer is alive because he got flat out lucky, quick thinking, a defib unit and instant response saved his life.

What that Investigation Committee of the General Prosecutors Office really should have done is call it for the tragedy that it was, a tragic death that only the most current of medical testing could have prevented.

Instead of blaming the victim, there should be recommendations as to how best to insure that the chances of another hockey players anywhere dies lessens. That part would be a better way to address what happened to Cherepanov than to point a finger at anyone.


Tonight's Star Greg Beller

It is a shame that Greg Beller's (2006 6th) return to action got lost in the shuffle of all the bigger names as well as the Cherepanov story but better late than never to say BELLER'S BACK.

Beller has been though a ton in his hockey career from breaking the same collarbone twice in the same season, playing for a coach that did not recruit him at Yale and finally leaving to a trip to the BCHL where Beller finally found a home with the University of Manitoba Bison in the Canada West.

Beller due to college transfer rules had to sit out a full year but that year is over and Beller did not take very long to have an impact for his new team. On Saturday in his Bison debut in the TBaytel Varsity Cup Tournament in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Beller had a goal and earned the game's second star as the Bison lost to Lakehead University in overtime 3-2.

On Sunday, Beller scored his second goal in 2 nights as Manitoba dropped a 7-6 decision to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. That led to Monday's action where Beller score 2 goals along with an assist to earn First Star honors as the Bison defeated the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks 6-3.

Beller scored his first goal of the game just 10 seconds into the second period, then set up teammate Kyle Howarth's goal at 6:35 of the same period. Finally at 11:03 of the 2nd, Beller scored his second goal (and eventual game winner) to finish off his return to hockey.

Beller remains Ranger property until after the 2010 season and this is a kid who if he can just play hockey could still develop. 6'3, 210 of a power forward with small man moves, this is someone worth watching still as he earned our respect for playing a game 7 with just one hand and almost stealing a BCHL playoff series with his efforts.


Tysen Dowzak (2008 UFA) and his Kelowna Rockets gave up 2 third period goals as they lost 3-2 to the Vancouver Giants in WHL action on Monday. Dowzak was of course scoreless and a -1 but really losing to the Giants is the norm for anyone in the WHL as the Giants have a 30-2-3 record as well as on a 9 game winning streak.

Dowzak earned some praise from Rocket announcer Regan Bartel at Regan's Rant when he wrote: "Bowman and Tysen Dowzak were especially good on the penalty killing unit limiting the Giants to just one power play goal on seven chances."

Danny Hobbs (2007 7th) did not score as his UMass Minutemen took 3rd place in the Ledyard Bank Classic defeating Army 4-1. Hobbs was used as the 3rd line right wing in this game as he adjusts to his new position.

Antoine Lafleur was the back up goalie as his Rouyn-Noranda Huskie's lost to the
Val-d'Or Foreurs 5-2. The Huskies simply did not show up with their normal defensive effort and it cost them this game.

(Cherepanov courtesy of Avangard, Beller courtesy of


The Manic Ranger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Manic Ranger said...

Excellent post. The way his situation was handled immediately after he collapsed, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Omsk was turning a blind eye. Just a note my blog url has changed, it's now a blogger account.

Jess Rubenstein said...


Updated you as you can tell. I do not believe that Avangard would turn a blind eye because of the price tag.

I dislike them but I do not believe they would risk their status in the hockey world by ignoring a drug problem.

jeff said...

Why would anyone from Omsk Mgmt. or the IIHF have had to turn a blind eye for Alexei to have been doing what he's been accused of?

Not all athletes are tested, the testing is random and it wasn't ever specified whether or not Cherepanov himself was ever tested before. It's possible he was simply never tested, plain and simple.

I don't want to believe he was doping, but the possibility does exist and can't be just ignored.

Jess Rubenstein said...

Sorry Jeff but knowing the price tag that the various groups would pay if a player got caught cheating then I would say the chance of a Cherepanov not being tested is almost nil.

However you miss the point, the mere accusation makes the rounds all over the world to smear someone who can not defend himself.

If Cherepanov was cheating then prove it or else do not even make the suggestion. Blaming the victim takes others off the hook and that is not fair to the Cherepanov family.

The Manic Ranger said...

Right on. Cherepanov isn't here to defend himself. Regardless of what he did or didn't do, his death was a tragedy.