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MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Vladimir Petrov, the two-time ice hockey Olympic winner and nine-time world champion, who played for the legendary Soviet national squad back in the last century, was a "pure hockey man" and "an unbelievable player," IIHF President Rene Fasel told TASS on Tuesday.
Renowned ice hockey champion Petrov passed away on early Tuesday morning at age of 69.
"I got the news this morning. Very sad news," Fasel said in an interview with TASS. "He was an unbelievable hockey player. I saw him play at the 1971 World Championship in Switzerland and I went to watch the Soviet team play. This team at the end of 1960s and early 1970s was unbelievable and he (Petrov) was an unbelievable hockey player."
"He was a pure hockey man," Fasel said. "I remember we had some fights internally in the federation (IIHF), when he was elected and we had some differences. But I had never personal problems with him."
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Petrov took charge of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation in 1992 holding the presidential post until 1994 and seeing the Russian national team taking its first World Championship’s title in 1993.
"I was a Council member (of IIHF) then (in early 1990s) and that was a very difficult period with the change of a political situation in Russia," the IIHF president said. "He (Petrov) was the only person at that time ready to do this."
"It shows his character that he was ready to champion for this difficult job at this very difficult time of the change of the Soviet Union to the Russian Federation." Fasel stated. "He is a hero, he is a legend in the ice hockey."
"It’s a sad day, not a good day today for our good friend Vladimir Petrov," the IIHF president said. "I hope he will play some hockey in the Paradise."
Petrov used to be part of the famous Soviet trio in joint with Boris Mikhailov and Valery Kharlamov. He debuted with the Krylya Sovetov ice hockey team based in Moscow in 1965. Several years later, in 1967, when Petrov was 20, prominent Soviet coach Anatoly Tarasov invited him to play for the CSKA squad.
While playing for that club, the hockey star had clinched the title of USSR champion eleven times. As a member of Soviet national team, he won gold medals at the 1972 Olympic Games in Sapporo and the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck. In addition to that, he won silver at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid.
Petrov ranks fourth in the number of goals scored in the history of Soviet and Russian ice hockey. He is a nine-time world champion and was the best scorer of the tournament four times.
In 2006, Petrov was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was appointed President of the Golden Puck young ice hockey players’ club and served as the head of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation from 1992 to 1994.