Soviet Coaching Legend, Viktor Tikhonov, Passes away at 84

(image courtesy of-Sony-Pictures-Classics)

Late last night, the family of Viktor Vasilyevich Tikhonov announced the 84-year-old coaching legend had passed away. One of hockey’s greatest minds was said to be bedridden for weeks with an undisclosed illness.

Tikhonov lead the world famous Soviet Red Army Team to Olympic gold in 1984, 1989, and 1992 with the unified team following the collapse of the Soviet Union. His Big Red Machine also won 8 world championships under his guidance. As coach of CSKA Moscow, he lead his team to 13 consecutive league titles. Tikhonov also won 4 titles as a denfenseman one with the defunct team of Soviet Air Forces and the other with Dynamo Moscow. He would also win the USSR Cup with the SAF team.

A national hero, Tikhonov was bestowed the Order For Merit to the Fatherland, 3rd class- for services to the State and outstanding contribution to the development of national hockey along with the Order of Honor- for outstanding contribution to the development of national hockey, the Order of Friendship – for outstanding contribution to the development of national sport, the
Order of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, and the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.

The Moscow native was also immortalized in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998 as a builder. Tikhonov is survived by his grandson who shares his namesake and currently plays in the KHL having originally been selected by the Phoenix Coyotes.

The two shared a special public moment when Russia won the 2014 World Championship and the legendary figure presented his kin the gold he had won so many times during his coaching career.

Tikhonov was infamous for not letting top Soviet players go to the NHL until they were in the latter stages of their careers including Viacheslav Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Alexei Kasatonov and Sergei Makarov while leading many youngsters such as Sergei Fedorov, Pavel Bure and Alexander Mogilny to defect.

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