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04:11 GMT +3 hours21 December 2014
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Olympic Champion Defenseman Valeri Vasiliev Dies

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Valeri Vasiliev, a member of the 1972 and 1976 Olympic champion Soviet hockey team, has died after a long illness, according to a website statement from his team Dynamo Moscow. He was 62.

Valeri Vasiliev, a member of the 1972 and 1976 Olympic champion Soviet hockey team, has died after a long illness, according to a website statement from his team Dynamo Moscow. He was 62.

Vasiliev was known as a fearsome defenseman for the Soviet team, which he represented for 13 years.

"In the 63rd year of his life, after a serious illness ... Valeri Ivanovich Vasiliev has died," the statement said.

He was on the Soviet team that lost the 1972 Summit Series against Canada, the gold medal team at the Sapporo Olympics of the same year, and the team that defended its Olympic title in Innsbruck four years later.

Vasiliev won the International Ice Hockey Federation's award for best defenseman in 1973, 1977 and 1979, and was on its All-Star team four times between 1975 and 1981.

He played for Dynamo Moscow from 1967 to 1984. The team is in the midst of battling for the Gagarin Cup, trailing 2-1 to Avangard Omsk in the final series that resumes later Thursday.