- Harijs Mellups
Harijs Mellups (1927–1950) was a
Latvian football and ice hockeyplayer. He played for Soviet Union national hockey teamin its first match. Mellups died in a tragic plane crash aged just 23.
Mellups came from
Sarkandaugavain Rigawhere he played football in the streets and in the winter - ice hockey on a frozen river. His first football club was Aldaris for which Mellups played as a left side forward. In addition to football Mellups played basketball, was an ice hockey goalkeeper and also competed in boxing. In boxing aged 18 Mellups was nominated for the Latvia national team. In 1945 he was the champion of Rigain his weight division.
However by 1945 Mellups had decided to pursue his career in two sports - ice hockey and football.
In 1945 with
FK Dinamo RīgaMellups won the Latvian championship in football. Mellups had a very good goal sense and was highly skilled in playing one-on-one. In 1946 with Dinamo Rīgahe also won the Latvian championship in ice hockey, as a goalkeeper with Dinamo he allowed just 3 goals in the entire season.
In 1948 when Soviet Union made its debut in international hockey as USSR beat Czechoslovakia 6:3, Mellups was in goal in that historic game. In 1949 he transferred to
Moscowwhere he also played both football and hockey on the highest level. Every year from 1947 to Mellups was selected in the symbolic selection of best players of the Soviet ice hockey league. Mellups died in a tragic airplane crash together with Roberts Šūlmanisand several other members of Soviet Union national ice hockey team.
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