Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Rangers' Lyashenko found dead in Turkey

By The Associated Press

ISTANBUL, Turkey - New York Rangers forward Roman Lyashenko was found dead in a hotel room while vacationing in Turkey.

The Rangers said Monday the cause of death wasn't immediately known. However, Turkey's Anatolia news agency reported it was a suicide.

Yuri Koritskiy, a Russian consular official, said the 24-year-old hockey player had been with his mother and sister in Antalya, a southern Mediterranean resort province popular with Russian and other European tourists. He said Lyashenko died Saturday but would not provide any other details.

The Anatolia news agency said Lyashenko apparently hanged himself with his belt in his hotel room.

The consulate was making preparations to send the body back to Russia this week, Koritskiy said.

Lyashenko played regularly with the Dallas Stars his first two seasons in the NHL, then was traded to the New York Rangers late in the 2001-02 season. Last season, the forward played two games with New York, spending the year with Hartford for the American Hockey League, where he had 23 goals and 35 assists.

"Roman was a quality individual who had a positive impact on everyone he touched, both on and off the ice," said Glen Sather, the Rangers' president, general manager and coach.

In 139 NHL games, Lyashenko had 14 goals and nine assists. The Russian was selected by Dallas in the second round of the 1997 NHL entry draft.

"Roman was a quality young man who we were privileged to have in our organization for three years," Stars general manager Doug Armstrong said. "Our thoughts and our prayers are with the Lyashenko family as they deal with this tragedy."

Lyashenko had two assists in nine games at the 2002 world hockey championships, in which Russia captured the silver medal. He won a gold medal in 1999 and a silver medal the year before while playing for Russia in the world junior championships.

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