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Former Harvard Hockey Player Dies in TWA Crash

By R. ALAN Leo

A recent Harvard graduate who was aboard Trans World Airlines flight 800 is missing and presumed dead after the jetliner exploded and crashed into the ocean off Long Island Wednesday.

According to acquaintances, Michel Breistroff '94-'95 was returning home to France after visiting friends in the U.S. when the Boeing 747 jumbo jet exploded.

Officials last night were still investigating the cause of the explosion, and cited terrorism as a possible cause.

Breistroff, a native of Roubaix, France, lived in Mather House and concentrated in anthropology.

A member of Harvard's hockey team, Breistroff played for Harvard's 1993 Beanpot champion squad.

"This is a very sad time," Harvard hockey head coach Ronn Tomassoni said in a statement yesterday. "Michel was an outstanding young man who touched the hearts of many people at Harvard. He was very proud of being at Harvard and very proud of playing hockey at Harvard.

"He was an unselfish player who would do anything to help his team," Tomassoni continued. "He was the consummate team player. We who were fortunate to be part of his life at Harvard will miss him greatly. Our prayers and thoughts are with Michel and his family."

Teammates remembered Breistroff as funny, friendly and quietly thoughtful--a well-liked and well-respected team player.

"He was a fantastic person," said former teammate Steven Martins '95. "When somebody dies, or something terrible happens to them, you tend to hear only the good things about them, but [Breistroff] really was a good person."

Martins, who plays professionally for the Hartford organization and saw ice time during several games for the Whalers last season, said he received a letter from Breistroff in April congratulating him on his National Hockey League debut.

Breistroff himself played professional hockey in France after graduating last spring.

In 1993, Breistroff deferred his senior year at Harvard to try out for France's Olympic hockey team. According to the Sports Information Office, injuries during the club season hindered Breistroff's Olympic chances. But even despite those injuries, the 22-year-old was the final cut at defense.

Breistroff returned to Harvard in September 1994.

During the 1994-95 season, Breistroff roomed with teammate and defensive partner Peter S. McLaughlin '98 when the team was on the road.

"It's shocking that someone of Michel's character can be taken off the world," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin recalled when rooming assignments were announced before the first road trip of '95.

"I always talk," McLaughlin said. "When Michel saw who he was rooming with, he said, 'ze kid who never shuts up is put with ze kid who never talks."

"He was truly loved," McLaughlin said. "It's a sad day.

Breistroff returned to Harvard in September 1994.

During the 1994-95 season, Breistroff roomed with teammate and defensive partner Peter S. McLaughlin '98 when the team was on the road.

"It's shocking that someone of Michel's character can be taken off the world," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin recalled when rooming assignments were announced before the first road trip of '95.

"I always talk," McLaughlin said. "When Michel saw who he was rooming with, he said, 'ze kid who never shuts up is put with ze kid who never talks."

"He was truly loved," McLaughlin said. "It's a sad day.

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