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Former Maple Leafs forward Sergei Berezin dead at 52

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Photo credit:Lou Capozzola-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
25 days ago
Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Sergei Berezin died at the age of 52, the NHL Alumni Association confirmed Wednesday.
Berezin was selected 256th overall by the Maple Leafs in the 1994 NHL Draft. He spent five seasons with the Maple Leafs, beginning during the 1996-97 campaign, before joining the Phoenix Coyotes in 2001-02. Berezin registered four 20-goal seasons, including a career-best 37 goals and 59 points during the 1998-99 season. He earned a spot on the 1996-97 All-Rookie team and immediately endeared himself to fans.
The speedy winger was known for his end-to-end rushes, offensive production, highlight-reel playmaking while featuring on some of the premier teams of the Mats Sundin Era. His electrifying skills off the rush were lionized during his tenure with the Maple Leafs. Here’s a prime example as Berezin set up Steve Thomas for a Game 5 overtime-winning goal against the Ottawa Senators during the first round of the 2000 playoffs.
“In his retirement, he enjoyed coaching minor hockey, playing tennis, and most importantly, spending time with his family,” the NHL Alumni Association wrote in a statement. “We send our deepest condolences to Sergei’s family, friends, and former teammates during this extremely difficult time.
“We ask that you please respect Sergei’s family’s privacy during this terrible time.”
Berezin finished his career with 160 goals and 286 points in 502 games, spending time with the Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals after his five-year stint with the Maple Leafs concluded.
It’s clear that Berezin loved his time with the Maple Leafs and enjoyed being a fan favourite, posting a photo of himself along Mats Sundin in 1999 on Twitter earlier this year. Berezin’s offensive flair, skill and penchant for the huge moment won’t be forgetting anytime soon in Maple Leafs lore.
The Leafs Nation send its sincere condolences to the Berezin family, his friends, family, former teammates and loved ones.

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