Former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Sergei Berezin dead at 52

Sergei Berezin, who played for five years as a forward with the Toronto Maple Leafs, has passed away at the age of 52. The NHL Alumni Association made the announcement Wednesday evening in a post on X.

“We send our deepest condolences to Sergei’s family, friends, and former teammates during this extremely difficult time,” the Association stated in their post.

Berezin, born in Voskresensk, Russia, first played for the Voskresensk Khimik in the Russian Elite League from 1990 to 1994 before playing for the Cologne Sharks in Germany for 2 years. His big break into the NHL came in 1994 when he was drafted as the 256th overall pick in the 10th round of the 1994 Entry Draft by the Maple Leafs, but it wasn’t until 2 years later that he was able to prove he was a phenom on the ice when he joined the Leafs’ roster in 1996, spending five seasons with the team.

“We are incredibly saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Sergei Berezin. Sergei was drafted by Toronto in 1994 and spent five seasons with the Leafs,” the Leafs wrote in a statement on X. “He ranks 32nd all-time in playoff scoring. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Berezin’s best season was in 1998-1999 when he set career highs with 37 goals and 59 points, as well as six goals and six assists in 17 playoff games when the Leafs played in the Eastern Conference final. He was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2000-2001 season, before continuing to play for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, and finally ending his career with CSKA Moscow in the Russian League (2003-2004).

According to hockeyDB, in the NHL,  he scored 286 points (160 goals and 126 assists) in 502 career NHL games (during the regular season), and scored 30 points (13 goals and 17 assists) in 52 playoff games.

The NHL Alumni Association noted that, in Berezin’s retirement, he enjoyed coaching minor hockey, playing tennis, and most importantly, spending time with his family. His cause of death has not been revealed.