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Russian league to investigate death of Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov

MOSCOW - Russia's Continental Hockey League said Thursday it would investigate the death of Alexei Cherepanov, the 19-year-old who collapsed with heart problems during a game this week.

KHL managing director Vladimor Shalaev will lead a special commission to conduct "an exhaustive investigation into all aspects of the situation," the league said in a statement. The group is expected to co-operate with state and local authorities.

A first-round draft pick of the New York Rangers, Cherepanov collapsed on the bench during a game Monday outside Moscow. Federal investigators said Wednesday the cause of his death was as yet unclear.

"The KHL is committed to the safety of our players and will ensure that all member teams provide the highest level of medical care for our players," league president Alexander Medvedev said.

Moscow regional investigators said Cherepanov apparently had chronic ischemia - a medical condition that means not enough blood gets to the heart or other organs. They have raised questions as to why the condition went undetected.

Lawmaker Pavel Krasheninnikov, who sits on the Russian Hockey Federation's supervisory council, has accused emergency workers of taking too long to respond to the call. He also complained there was no ambulance on standby for the game and no defibrillator.

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