Former Soviet head coach Viktor Tikhonov, who coached the dominant Red Army team from 1977 to 1994, winning eight World Championships, three Olympic Gold Medals and the 1981 Canada Cup, has died in Moscow following a long illness at the age of 84.
Tikhonov, who was first given the chance to coach the Soviet “B” team sent to the 1976 Canada Cup (as the top players were reserved for the 1976 Olympics) turned an eroding Soviet system into the most efficient international hockey team of our time, remaining largely unstoppable to any team they faced. In fact, it was under Tikhonov that the USSR set the record for the longest IHLC reign in history, one that is unlikely to be broken for a very long time, of 71 games going undefeated between 1981-84, also winning 39 straight from 1978-80, only ended by the shocking American victory at the “Miracle On Ice.” Tikhonov retired with 8 World Championship and 3 Olympic Golds, as well as winning the 1981 Canada Cup.
Tikhonov’s memory will live on in international hockey, however, as his grandson, also named Viktor, is currently with SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL, has played for the Phoenix Coyotes, and has already won the IHLC with the Russians at the 2014 World Championships. Our condolences go out to the Tikhonov family, and the hockey communities both of Russia, and the world.