Leafs prospect Rodion Amirov
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Team captain team honours Leaf prospect in very unique way following his passing

Published January 23, 2024 at 10:34

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired a first round pick in the 2020 entry draft from the Pittsburgh Penguins in a trade that saw Kasperi Kapanen heading back to Pittsburgh. The Leafs used that pick to select Rodion Amirov 15th overall. Amirov was touted as one of the most talented and well-rounded prospects in that draft, but unfortunately, he was unable to showcase his full potential.

On February 22, 2022, Amirov's agent Dan Milstein announced that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and was undergoing treatment. The announcement noted that Amirov was receiving treatment in Germany and was skating and working out regularly.

Ahead of the 2022-2023 season, Amirov traveled to Toronto, where he received chemotherapy and was reportedly scheduled to skate in a pre-season game for the Leafs. Sadly, his body was unable to withstand the chemotherapy, and his condition had worsened, and he was unable to. Instead, the Leafs made him an honorary member of their season-opening roster, which garnered a lengthy standing ovation from the crowd at Scotiabank Arena.

Tragically, that was the last time Amirov would visit Toronto as his condition worsened quickly, and on August 14, 2023, his agent announced that he had passed away. Upon his passing, tributes poured in across social media and a monument created by fans appeared outside of his KHL team Salavat's home arena.

After his passing, Amirov's captain, Grigori Panin, created a makeshift tribute on his skates that had Amirov's name and number before having a custom pair made, which he wore the rest of the season. Over the weekend, Panin visited Amirov's grave and left one of those skates at his resting place. In doing so, he shared a message with fans asking them to leave the skate where he placed it.

"I have a big request, please don't take this skate. Let it remain there as a memory of him. Thank you all very much," said Panin.


Throughout his battle, Amirov inspired many and touched the hearts of everyone he encountered. Not because they felt sorry for him, although everyone did empathize with him, seeing such a young person go through what he did, but his story resonated with them because of his positivity, fighting spirit and selflessness that he showed throughout his darkest days.

At his funeral, Amirov's father noted that even as his condition worsened, he was always making sure his friends and family were okay. While he was unable to realize his dream of playing in the NHL, he surely inspired many young players to believe in themselves and chase their dreams no matter how much adversity they may face.

January 23   |   398 answers
Team captain team honours Leaf prospect in very unique way following his passing

Do you think Rodion Amirov would have made the NHL were it not for his tragic passing?

Yes32381.2 %
No7518.8 %
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