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 March 18, 2024

Former NHL player Konstantin Koltsov dead at 42

Belarusian hockey player Konstantin Koltsov, known for his tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL, passed away at the age of 42, as confirmed by his Russian team on Tuesday.

Koltsov's hockey journey was marked by his time with the Penguins, where he played 144 games from 2002 to 2006.

The announcement

Following his playing career, he transitioned into coaching and served as a coach for Salvat Yulaev of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), based in Ufa, Russia, a city situated approximately 832 miles west of Moscow.

The announcement of Koltsov's passing was made by his former team, Salvat Yulaev, expressing profound sadness at the loss.

Described as a strong and cheerful individual, Koltsov was esteemed by players, colleagues, and fans alike. The team highlighted his significant contributions to the club's history, emphasizing that Konstantin Evgenievich's legacy would endure.

His team

The Pittsburgh Penguins, the team with which Koltsov played during his NHL career, also extended their condolences.

Recognizing Koltsov as a former forward, they paid tribute to his time with the franchise, noting his selection as the Penguins' first-round draft choice in 1999. "The Penguins extend their deepest condolences to the family and friends of former Penguins forward, Konstantin Koltsov," the team said.

During his stint with the team from 2003 to 2006, Koltsov played alongside hockey icons like Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux, leaving an indelible mark on the organization.

Beyond hockey

While the cause of Koltsov's death remains undisclosed, his passing reverberated not only within the hockey community but also beyond. Beyond his athletic endeavors, Koltsov captured public attention through his relationship with tennis star Aryna Sabalenka, which became public knowledge in 2021.

Despite the couple's visibility, Sabalenka has yet to address Koltsov's passing, focusing instead on her tennis career as she competes in prestigious tournaments such as the Indian Wells Open in California and the upcoming Miami Open in Florida.

Koltsov's hockey journey spanned nearly two decades, from 1997 to 2016, during which he traversed various leagues including the Russian Super League, the Belarusian Extraleague, and the Eastern European Hockey League.

His international career saw him represent Belarus in prestigious competitions like the Olympics and World Championships, showcasing his talent and dedication to the sport on a global stage.

As the hockey world mourns the loss of a talented athlete and cherished teammate, Koltsov's legacy endures, leaving an indelible imprint on the hearts of fans, teammates, and colleagues alike.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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