The International Ice Hockey Federation confirmed the deaths of three former hockey greats: Milan Kajkl of the Czech Republic, Tsutomu Kawabuchi of Japana and Eric Paterson of Edmonton.
Kajkl, 63, was a regular defenseman with the powerful Czechoslovakian national team in the 1970s. He was part of the 1976 and 1977 World Championship team and won silver at the 1976 Olympics and 1976 Canada Cup.
Tsutomu Kawabuchi, 88, was a major contributor to Japanese hockey in virtually every aspect - player, coach, administrator. He was instrumental in the development of the womens game in Japan. He was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2004.
Goalkeeper Eric Paterson, 84, passed away last Tuesday in Sherwood Park, Alberta. The Edmonton native represented Canada with the Edmonton Mercurys in the 1952 Olympic Winter Games in Oslo where they won gold.
For more on these three individuals, please visit Martin Merk's report at IIHF.com. Also visit Tom Hawthorn's excellent sporting obituary website Benched Athletes to see a profile on Eric Patterson.