HELSINKI – Long-time Finnish referee Karl-Gustav Kaisla passed away on Friday after severe illness at the age of 68. He called the “Miracle on Ice” game in Lake Placid.
Kaisla was one of the most merited referees in Finland. He called 514 games in the Finnish top league between 1969 and 1990, and was voted best referee in Finland on three occasions (1978, 1980, 1990).
The Helsinki native also officiated at three IIHF World Championships, three IIHF World Junior Championships and the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid where he was assigned to work the game between the United States and the Soviet Union that became known as “Miracle on Ice” after the Americans’ unexpected win.
Kaisla was also invited to officiate at the 1987 Canada Cup, which was a rare opportunity for European refs. After his career as an on-ice official he continued to work as a referee supervisor and instructor.
In an interview with Finnish newspaper Iltalehti two years ago he said about his career: “I’ve been a referee for 15 countries. Hockey has broadened my world.”
Kaisla was inducted into the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991.