IIHF NEWS: Tragedy as Russian player Uchaikin dies from hit in Kazakh League.

News came out over the weekend that a Russian player playing in the Kazakh Hockey League had been put in a serious condition after taking a hard hit during a game on Wednesday.  Dmitri Uchaikin, 32, tragically passed away early on Sunday morning after suffering a stroke in hospital, following his admission there on Thursday.

Whilst Uchaikin was a little known player outside of Kazakhstan, an incident like this makes a deep impression on all involved in the sport, given its physical nature and the potential for nasty injuries.  The player who made the hit, Donatas Kumeliauskas from Lithuania, should not be blamed for what was by all accounts a hard but routine hit, and I can only imagine how he must feel.

Our thoughts go out to his friends, team-mates and family, including his wife, daughter and unborn child.

Here is the full press release from the IIHF:

PAVLODAR, Kazakhstan – The hockey world received shocking news on Sunday when it was announced that Russian forward Dmitri Uchaikin died after suffering a brain hemmorhage stemming from a hit suffered during a playoff game last week in the Kazakh league. He was 32.

Playing for his team Yertis Pavlodar on Wednesday 27 March, Uchaikin was injured by a tough hit from Lithuanian national team forward Donatas Kumeliauskas of Arystan Temirtau. Uchaikin was able to leave the ice under his own power some seconds later and reportedly played some shifts before leaving the game and going home. He felt bad during the night and lost consciousness the next day and was rushed to a local hospital, where he died of a stroke early Sunday morning.

Uchaikin spent most of his playing career with Amur Khabarovsk, the city where he was born, before moving to the Kazakh league in 2009 where he played first for Yermak Angarsk before joining Yertis Pavlodar in 2010. He leaves behind a pregnant wife and daughter.

In a statement from the Ice Hockey Federation of Kazakhstan to Sovietski Sport it says that the hit in question was hard but “all was within the borderline of the rules”. Videos from the game are inconclusive and didn’t show the hit.

There will be a memorial held today will be held at Pavlodar Ice Arena, while the team plans to retire Uchaikin’s jersey number 17.



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