London Knights center Abakar Kazbekov died on Saturday, according to an announcement from the Ontario Hockey League. He was 18. The league and the Knights have not released any details on how Kazbekov died, but CTV News reported that he fell to his death from a downtown London, Ont. apartment building.
According to the CTV News report, the Major Crime Section is investigating Kazbekov's death after his body was found on the sidewalk outside of the building.
The Russian-born center played on Friday in London's 5-2 win over the Owen Sound Attack. Following the announcement of his death, the OHL postponed Saturday's game between the Knights and the Flint Firebirds. In addition, games between the Erie Otters and Saginaw Spirit and the Kingston Frontenacs and Petersborough Petes were also postponed to allow players that knew Kazbekov to grieve.
"The Ontario Hockey League and the London Knights are saddened to announce the sudden passing of player Abakar Kazbekov," the team wrote in the statement. "Abakar has been a valued member of the team since 2021. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and teammates."
In 12 games this season, Kazbekov had registered one assist for the Knights. He was selected with the No. 1 pick in the OHL's 2021 Under-18 Priority Selection Draft in 2021.
Kazkekov played in the Russian Under-18 and Under-16 leagues prior to joining the OHL in 2021.