Yesterday Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect Rodion Amirov died. Things had looked as if they were getting better; and, not two weeks ago, I had reported that there was good news on the horizon. That’s one reason why the news today was so devastating. We thought this young man was progressing and might, one day, return to playing the game he loved.
The Maple Leafs Lost a Prospect, But His Parents Lost a Son
Now the hockey community grieves the loss of a talented player. But, more than that, as a parent myself my thoughts are with Amirov’s family and the terrible void they are now experiencing because the life of their beloved son was cut so very short.
At just 21 years old, Amirov’s journey as a human was more than that of a hockey career; it was the story of a young man who inspired hearts beyond the rink. For that, his parents should be (and I know they are) proud.
When he was getting treatments in Germany, his parents went with him. Amirov was a member of a Protestant Evangelical church; and, in Germany, he and his parents found a place of worship, and regularly attended.
Amirov noted that “My faith in God gives me the strength and confidence to believe I will overcome.” Amirov and his family also did “family things.” His father stayed with him; and, when his mother visited, she brought their son’s dog – a Maltipoo named Shanya.
Amirov Tried to Live a Normal Life & Be a Positive Influence
While he was there, he continued both his treatment and continued to “live a normal life.” That, for Amirov, meant working out in the gym and on the ice. He never quit.
While he was getting treatments, he had one goal. That was, as he noted, “I want to stay positive, and I want people to think positively about me.”
He also noted that “There are many other people that have their own sicknesses or illnesses. I want to show by example that I can give people hope.”
Amirov put some of his own workouts on social media as a way to inspire others. He noted that, if they “can see what I am doing, they hopefully take some positives. I am positive. I want to feel that I can play in the best hockey league in the world.”
Amirov Was Always Thankful and Other Focused
Throughout his treatment, Amirov was always thankful to the Maple Leafs. He also thanked his KHL team, Salavat Yulaev Ufa, for their “unconditional support.” Both organizations did everything to get him the best possible care, and both kept news of his condition private until he was ready to reveal it.
Amirov noted that, “After I was drafted, everything was Toronto Maple Leafs. When I came to Toronto, I saw it all first-hand. My ultimate dream.”
Maple Leafs’ Nation got to see him up close last year. Amirov attended his first NHL game. He described the experience:
“Somebody escorted me through the [concourse]. I came out in the stands, and I couldn’t believe it. I took out my camera and started recording, sending the videos to all my friends and family.”
The first photo above shows him looking into the crowd at Scotiabank Arena.
Amirov Will Be Missed, Mostly By His Family
Amirov’s journey was both as a hockey player, but also as a son who was deeply loved by his family. While he aspired to be a great hockey player, he was more. He was a great inspiration to others and a loved child.
He dreamed big and shared moments of pride as a small part of the Maple Leafs hockey community. Amirov’s passion for the game of hockey was intertwined with his family’s unwavering encouragement.
From everything we saw of this young man, he brought joy, inspiration, and hope to those who knew him personally. That is more important than any of his achievements on the ice. We will remember him for a while, but his family won’t forget – ever.
Amirov Reminds Us That Inside Every Jersey Is a Human
The loss of Rodion Amirov reminds us that inside every jersey number, there is a person. In this case, a son and a loved family member who has left an unforgetable mark on the hearts of those who held him close.
My own deepest condolences go out to Amirov’s family – especially Mom and Dad – in this tough time.
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