Ex-NHL winger Sergei Berezin dies at 52

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The NHL Alumni Association announced on Wednesday that former Toronto Maple Leafs winger Sergei Berezin died at 52.

The Russian native was a 10th-round pick of the 1994 NHL Draft to Toronto, making his debut in the league two years later.

He made an immediate impact, scoring 25 goals and being named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.

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Sergei Berezin

Sergei Berezin of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 9, 1999, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

His best season was the 1998-99 campaign, when he lit the lamp 37 times while handing out 22 assists and totaling 59 points, all of which were career bests.

In that season, he scored six goals and had six assists in the playoffs, helping the Leafs get to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Buffalo Sabres, who eventually fell to the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Perhaps his most memorable moment came in that playoff run when he scored the series-winning goal with just about a minute left in the first round against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sergei Berezin shoots

Sergei Berezin has died at 52. (Al Bello/Allsport)

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In 2001, he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes and then to the Montreal Canadiens. The following season, he split time with the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals.

Berezin scored 126 goals and had 94 assists in his career.

He won a silver medal for the Soviet Union in the 1991 World Juniors.

Post-retirement, he “enjoyed coaching minor hockey, playing tennis, and most importantly, spending time with his family,” the league’s alumni association wrote.

Sergei Berezin skating

Sergei Berezin scored 126 goals and had 94 assists in his career. (Graig Abel/Getty Images)

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“We are incredibly saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Sergei Berezin,” the Leafs said in a statement on X. “Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

No cause of death has been revealed.

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