Ice hockey forward Vladimir Krutov, a star forward for the Soviet team at three Olympic Games, has died at the age of 52, the Russian Hockey Federation said Wednesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent his condolences to the relatives of the ice hockey legend who scored the opening goal before the United States rallied to beat the Soviet team 4-3 in the so-called Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Olympics, and won gold at the 1984 and 1988 Games.
Krutov was admitted to hospital in Moscow on Monday with abdominal bleeding and placed in intensive care, Dmitry Shaposhnikov, general manager of a team where Krutov played exhibition games, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
“We’ve lost a man who no hockey player would hesitate to go into battle alongside,” Vladislav Tretiak, president of the Russian Hockey Federation and Soviet goaltender at four Olympic Games from 1972 to 1984, said on the federation’s website.
Tretiak compared Krutov to Valeri Kharlamov, a star of the 1972 Summit Series between the Soviet Union and Canada, and another member of the 1980 Olympic team.
“He was very similar indeed to Valeri Kharlamov; a man of few words, who always did everything he had to do on the ice, and you could rely on him 100 percent,” Tretiak said.
In addition to his Olympic medals, Krutov won five world championships with the Soviet team between 1981 and 1989.
After 12 years with CSKA Moscow, he played one season in the NHL for the Vancouver Canucks in 1989-90, notching up 11 goals and 23 assists in 61 games, before ending his career with spells in Switzerland and Sweden.