Vasiliy Stalin's National Secret: The elite hockey team was directed by Vasiliy Stalin who was Joseph Stalin`s son. Vasiliy was Commander of the Air Force in the Moscow Military District in 1948. It is reported that the crash occurred just two and a half weeks after Joseph Stalin`s 70th birthday and that Vasiliy feared both his fathers reaction to the loss of their elite hockey team and a crash investigation. Presumably as the club director he had authorized the flight and feared the investigation of the plane flying in inclement weather. In an interesting footnote it is reported that Vasiliy was later dismissed as Commander just two years after the 1950 aviation accident for allowing planes to fly in bad weather during a military parade he organized. As a result, two Tupolev-4 bombers crashed.
The Great Bobrov: Immediately after the tragedy, a new team was quickly assembled around star Vsevolod Bobrov and this replacement club simply carried on and was introduced as the Soviet Union Hockey team in the very next scheduled game.
|Photo: IIHF Archives|
The air disaster was not mentioned in the state-controlled media, the soviet government did not officially acknowledge the event and Joseph Stalin never knew it had happened. Bobrov went on to be one of the greatest Soviet hockey stars and pioneers of the game.
The photo shows Captain Vsevolod Bobrov (left) and Penticton Vee`s George McAvoy shaking hands after
In memory of the crash victims a memorial was erected by family and friends near the common grave in Koltsovo,
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Thanks to Franco at International Hockey Forums for these references:
*Soares, John (2007) Cold War, Hot Ice: International Ice Hockey, 1947-1980 in
Journal of Sport History, Vol 34, No. 2 Summer 2007 p. 210
To read click here: Cold War, Hot Ice: International Ice Hockey, 1947-1980