Rodion Amirov, one of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ top prospects, has unfortunately passed away after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor two years ago, per his agent, Dan Milstein. He was 21 years old.
“From the moment he received the news, he refused to speak in the negative, determined to enjoy every day, facing it with the same positive attitude he showed during his hockey career,” said Milstein, in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We will always remember his courage, his desire, his will, his smile, all of the great things about him.
“We’d like to thank his doctors, who took great care of him. We’d like to thank the Toronto Maple Leafs and his KHL—Salavat Yulayev Ufa team. Both did everything possible to help in any way, do whatever was necessary for Rodion and the Amirov family. And we’d like to thank the hockey fans all over the world who sent notes of encouragement and best wishes over the past two years. They meant so much to the Amirov family.”
Amirov’s Journey Through Hockey
Amirov was born in Salavat, Russia, developing his game through the Yulayev Ufa system, leading to a strong year in 2019-20 that led to him getting drafted in the first round of the 2020 Draft, 15th overall by the Maple Leafs. He had two assists through 21 KHL games in his first pro experience, though he excelled in the junior level, with 22 points in 17 games for Salavat’s MHL affiliate, Tolpar Ufa.
He got a more extensive role in the KHL the following season, where he had nine goals and four assists for 13 points in 39 games with Yulayev Ufa in 2020-21, and got named to Russia’s roster for the 2021 World Juniors, where he was an alternate captain and led them in scoring, with six points in seven games. In that strong showing, he got signed to his first entry-level contract.
He played only 10 games with Yulayev Ufa in 2021-22, having sustained two unrelated injuries. Head coach Tomi Lamsa did not provide the specifics regarding the injury, and Amirov did not play for two months. He was assigned to the minor league team in the VHL in November, playing three games before returning to the KHL in December, where he received minimal ice time, logging two shifts in his first game back before being listed as a healthy scratch the next game.
He got back to getting close to averaging 10 minutes per game before a positive COVID-19 test derailed his progress. During his recovery, he developed “new, unrelated symptoms that required ongoing extensive investigations over the last few months.”
A Devastating Loss for the Hockey World
The Maple Leafs later announced in February 2022 that Amirov was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It sadly ended his season, and he went to a medical facility in Germany for treatment.
He recovered enough to travel to Toronto for last season’s Hockey Fights Cancer night in November, having appeared in pre-game ceremonies. He was training to try and get back in action, having worked out in both Salavat and Toronto, but he had to stop to undergo additional treatments. He aimed to play sometime during the 2022-23 season, which showed the uplifting note he displayed.
“The entire Maple Leafs organization is devastated by this tragic loss,” said Maple Leafs team president and alternate governor Brendan Shanahan. “Over the duration of his courageous battle, Rodion’s positivity inspired everyone around him, and he made lasting impressions with our team and our fans in his brief visits to Toronto. It’s incredibly sad to see a young man with so much promise taken from us so soon. We offer our deepest condolences to Rodion’s family and friends as we mourn this loss together.”
We at Shady Sports Network are saddened by the news and we send our condolences to the Amirov family and those closest to Rodion Amirov, and anyone in the hockey community affected by cancer.
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