Officials: Russian hockey star Cherepanov took performance drugs

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MOSCOW - Blood and urine samples show former hockey star Alexei Cherepanov took performance-enhancing drugs, Russian investigators said in a statement Monday.

Cherepanov, 19, collapsed Oct. 13 while on the bench for Omsk club Avangard in Russia's Continental Hockey League, or the KHL as it is known. The player, a top prospect of the NHL's New York Rangers, died a short time later.

Russia's federal Investigative Committee said a chemical analysis of the samples allowed experts to conclude "that for several months Alexei Cherepanov engaged in doping." A spokeswoman at the committee refused to specify the drugs that Cherepanov allegedly took.

The statement also said Cherepanov suffered from myocarditis, a condition where not enough blood gets to the heart, and the Russian should not have been playing pro hockey.

The club's medical team might carry legal liability in the episode, the statement added.

"A row of gross violations was committed by the medical brigade helping A. Cherepanov," the statement said. Among them, doctors arrived on the scene a full 12 minutes after Cherepanov collapsed, and the battery on the defibrillator used to attempt shock Cherepanov's heart back to life was drained, the statement said.

Prosecutors earlier this month accused the club's director of negligence. Mikhail Denisov has since been fired, and Monday's statement did not mention him.

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