Following the Detroit Red Wings 7-2 blowout at the hands of the Florida Panthers, the media awaited Head Coach Jeff Blashill, ready to get an explanation of what had just happened. Instead, Blashill had the difficult job of informing the media of the passing of beloved team masseur and equipment manager, Sergei Tchekmarev.
The hockey world soon reacted – reaching out and sharing stories about a man who was truly loved by all who interacted with him. The Fox Sports Detroit Team had some emotional tributes throughout the February 20th broadcast, from heart warming stories of his generosity (Stitching up equipment for less fortunate children in his home nation of Russia), to the tearful remembrance by Red Wings legend Kris Draper.
Sergei was a beloved member of not only the Red Wings organization, but the Red Wings family. After the announcement of his passing, comments from current and past Wings players flooded social media, each expressing their love and admiration for the man that seemed to make a positive impact on nearly every person he interacted with.
The Red Wings had to follow up the news with another matchup against the Panthers.
The team ended up winning an emotional one, 2-1. After the game, Captain Dylan Larkin pointed to the sky – giving a little tribute to Sergei. During the post game conference, Larkin went on to describe the difficulties of the last 24 hours, both for himself and the team. The Captain went on to remember Sergei, and how much he mattered to the Red Wing family.
Sergei Tchekmarev won’t just be remembered as a Russian Hockey legend, winning multiple gold medals and World Championships with the Soviet Union throughout the 80’s. Sergei won’t just be remembered for his contributions to the Red Wings during some of the teams best seasons.
Sergei “Cheeka” Tchekmarev will also be remembered for the difference he made off the ice. For being a great, loving man, with a fantastic sense of humor. A man that could make anyone feel better, whether it be with a joke, or his shining positivity.
We here at Octopus Thrower offer our condolences to Sergei’s family and friends, and the Red Wings family as a whole. We hope that this devastating news can be somewhat countered with the fanbase remembering together just how good of a man Sergei was, and how much he meant to those around him.