Skvortsov dead at 65
by Andrew Podnieks|05 FEB 2020
Soviet player Alexander Skvortsov during the 1985 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Prague.
photo: Sergei Guneyev / RIA Novosti
Alexander Skvortsov, a star with Soviet teams of the 1980s both domestically and internationally, died in Moscow on Tuesday, 4 February. Cause of death was not immediately announced. He was 65 years old.

Skvortsov was a legend with Torpedo Gorky (now Nizhni Novgorod) in the Soviet league, a team he played for from 1972 until 1989. He later played briefly in Finland and Sweden.

But it was with the vaunted CCCP that Skvortsov crafted an excellent international career. He first represented his country at the 1976 Canada Cup at age 22, a tournament to which the Soviets sent an “experimental” team. It failed to make the finals, but five years later Skvortsov helped his country stun the Canadians at the Montreal Forum in the deciding game. He scored the final goal in an emphatic 8-1 route that stunned Canada.

Two and a half years later, Skvortsov was named to the Soviet Union’s team for the Challenge Cup, a best-of-three against the NHL that replaced the league’s All-Star Game in New York that year. The NHLers won the first game, but lost the second, 5-4, and were pummelled in the rubber match 6-0. Skvortsov had an assist on a Vladimir Kovin goal in the third period that made it 4-0 at that point.

Skvortsov played in his first World Championship in 1979, at home in Moscow, when the Soviets won all nine games with relative ease en route to a gold medal. A year later, he played in the Lake Placid Olympics, made famous by his team’s “Miracle on Ice” loss which saw the Soviets settle for silver to the USA’s incredible gold.

The Soviets rebounded, however, and won gold again at the 1981 Worlds. Along the way, they hammered Sweden, 13-1, in the final round, Skvortsov scoring two goals in what remains Sweden’s worst WM loss ever. 

His third World Championship gold came in 1983, in West Germany, when the Soviets beat all comers again. Skvortsov scored the game-winning goal against Finland in the preliminary round and later contributed a goal in an 8-2 win against Canada on the final day that assured CCCP of the championship. He won a final medal at the World Championship in 1985, a bronze, in the last international event of his career.

Skvortsov also played in the two premium tournaments in 1984, helping the Soviets win gold at the Olympics in Sarajevo, and then playing in the Canada Cup in September. In the latter, Canada beat their rivals in the semi-finals to eliminate the Soviets.

After retiring, Skvortsov turned his attention to coaching for several seasons, after which he became an executive with his hometown team Torpedo Nizhni Novgorod, the club team he had played almost all of his career.