Vladimir Petrov, Soviet Olympic hockey star, dies at 69

Vladimir Petrov
Getty Images

Vladimir Petrov, a star forward on the Soviet Union’s champion hockey teams of the 1970s, died Tuesday at age 69, according to the Russian Hockey Federation.

Petrov had been battling cancer, according to Russian media.

Petrov earned Olympic gold medals in 1972 and 1976, plus silver in 1980 as part of the Soviet team that lost to the U.S. in the Miracle on Ice in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Petrov “was perhaps the strongest player on the Soviet national team, with blacksmith arms and a bulging neck, a 200-pound slab of muscle who was possessed of the rarest Russian weapons: a nasty slap shot,” wrote Wayne Coffey in “Boys of Winter,” a book on the Miracle on Ice.

Petrov was best known centering the Soviets’ top line with Boris Mikhailov and Valery Kharlamov. Kharlamov died in a 1981 car accident.

Petrov scored 10 goals combined in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics, according to sports-reference.com.

In retirement, Petrov became president of the Russian Hockey Federation and was inducted into the International Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.

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