18-year-old Ontario League hockey prospect suddenly dies

Fox News reports that an up-and-coming teenage hockey player has suddenly passed away. 

The player is Abakar Kazbekov, an 18-year-old from Russia. Kazbekov had been playing in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for the London Knights.

The OHL is one of Canada’s top three junior hockey leagues, where teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 compete. Prior to playing for the Knights, Kazbekov had played in Russian junior leagues.

The announcement

It was the London Knights that announced Kazbekov’s passing in a message that the team posted on its Twitter page.

In the statement, the London Knights describe Kazbekov’s passing as “sudden.”

“The Ontario Hockey League and the London Knights are saddened to announce the sudden passing of player Abaka Kazbekov,” the statement reads.

It continues:

Abakar has been a valued member of the team since 2021. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and teammates. Tonight’s game in London between the London Knights and Flint Firebirds is postponed.

What happened?

It’s not immediately clear what led to Kazbekov’s passing. But, some outlets, including the local outlet CTV News London, are reporting that Kazbekov “fell to his death Saturday from a downtown London, Ontario apartment building.”

The outlet quotes a local police officer – Const. Travis Buckle of the London Police Service (LPS) – as saying:

Around 8:20 a.m. members of the London Police Service were dispatched to attend the intersection of Dufferin Avenue and Talbot Street for a person that had reportedly fallen from the building. Officers arrived on scene and located a person who was deceased.

One thing worth noting is that the police have not confirmed that the person who had fallen is Kazbekov. Rather, news outlets have indicated as much.

Another thing worth pointing out is that the police do not believe that foul play was involved in Kazbekov’s passing. But, an investigation is still ongoing.

Who was he:

Sports Illustrated reports:

The Knights drafted Kazbekov out of Russia with the first overall pick of the OHL’s under-18 draft in 2021. However, Kazbekov only had played in 21 games over the past two seasons due to injury.

The last game that Kazbekov played in took place on Friday night. The game was between the Knights – the home team – and the Owen Sound Attack. The Knights won the game by a score of 5 to 2.

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