Detroit Red Wings learn of death of longtime team masseur Sergei Tchekmarev after loss to Florida Panthers

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Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read
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The Detroit Red Wings mourned a longtime friend Friday, told of the death of Sergei Tchekmarev immediately after a grueling loss on the ice.

Their 7-2 rout at the hands of the Florida Panthers was acknowledged as “terrible” by coach Jeff Blashill, who broke down during his postgame news conference as he revealed Tchekmarev’s death.

Tchekmarev, 65, was not at the arena. Team personnel found out immediately after the game.

“He was an unreal man,” Blashill said. “He made it fun to be around the rink. I’ve know him for 10-plus years. He was here for 20-plus years. I just think it’s really important that we honor him.”

Longtime Red Wings trainer Sergei Tchekmarev, left, celebrates the team's 2008 Stanley Cup victory on the ice with former Wings coach Scotty Bowman on June 4, 2008.
Longtime Red Wings trainer Sergei Tchekmarev, left, celebrates the team's 2008 Stanley Cup victory on the ice with former Wings coach Scotty Bowman on June 4, 2008.

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The team did not have much information immediately after the game, but a spokesman said Tchekmarev is survived by a wife and daughter.

“Tcheka,” as he was known to everyone, had been the team masseur since 1998. He always had a smile and a “how are you doing” ready as a greeting.

“He was one of the best people I’ve ever been around,” Blashill said. “One of the kindest. Cared and had an unreal outlook on life. My heart goes out to his family. And certainly to so many people around here who loved him, including myself.”

Blashill ended his news conference shortly afterward.

“Guys, we were terrible,” he said. “I don’t know have any words for it at all. That’s all.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Red Wings announce death of longtime masseur Sergei Tchekmarev