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Russia: Gunmen Kill Head Of Ice Hockey Federation

Moscow, 22 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian police say unidentified gunmen today shot and killed Russian Ice Hockey Federation chief Valentin Sych near Dmitrov in the Moscow region.

ITAR-TASS news agency quotes police officials as saying Sych's wife was wounded when the assailants opened fire with assault rifles on his automobile as he was travelling toward Moscow. The driver was unhurt.

Sych, a native of the Ukraine, was 60 years old. He was a member of the Soviet State Sports Committee leadership since 1968, had headed the Basketball Federation of the Commonwealth of Independent States for the last five years and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation since 1994.

The murder comes just four days before the start of the world ice hockey championships in Finland.

Sych had quarrelled with Russian ice hockey stars playing in the North American National Hockey League. However, it is not clear whether the attack on him was connected with conflicts within the Ice Hockey Federation.