Soviet star hockey player was spy, claims new book

Vladislav Tretiak

Vladislav Tretiak

A new book claims that one of the greatest Russian ice hockey players in modern times was a spy for Soviet and Russian intelligence. Vladislav Tretiak, goaltender for the Soviet Union’s national ice hockey team in the 1970s and 1980s, is considered one of the supreme goaltenders in the history of the sport. But Nest of Spies, a new book published this week in Canada, alleges that Tretiak acted as an “international talent-spotter” for the KGB and its post-communist successor, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). The books’ authors, Canadian Security Intelligence Service veteran Michel Juneau-Katsuya, and investigative journalist Fabrice de Pierrebourg, claim that Tretiak performed intelligence work during his sports-related visits to Canada and elsewhere, by detecting potential spy recruits for the Russians. The book also claims that, due to its offbeat international presence and proximity to the United States, Canada is a favorite gathering place for the world’s intelligence services. Juneau-Katsuya and de Pierrebourg say that, proportionally to its population, Canada is home to more foreign intelligence operatives than the United States. Canadian newspaper The Vancouver Sun, which wrote a brief article about Nest of Spies, contacted Tretiak in Russia, seeking his reaction to the accusations laid against him in the book. But the retired ice hockey star, who today presides over Russia’s Ice Hockey Federation, and serves as a member of the Russian parliament, refused to comment.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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