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Viktor Tikhonov in 2010

Viktor Vasilyevich Tikhonov (Russian: Виктор Васильевич Тихонов; born June 4, 1930) is a Russian former ice hockey player and coach. He was the coach of the Soviet team when it was the most dominant team in the world. He is in the IIHF Hall of Fame (builder, 1998).


Viktor Tikhonov was born in the Soviet Union on June 4, 1930.

Tikhonov played as a defenceman with the VVS (Team of the Soviet Air Forces) and Dynamo Moscow. He scored 35 goals in 296 games in the Soviet elite hockey league from 1949 to 1963. In 1950, he became a Soviet Sports Master. As a player, he won four gold medals of the Soviet national championship (three times with VVS (1951–1953) and once with Dynamo, 1954). He won the USSR Cup in 1952 as a member of VVS.

His coaching career started in 1964 when he became an assistant coach for Dynamo Moscow, then he took the position of the Head Coach for Dynamo Riga. In 1973, he was named a Latvian merited sports coach (ZTR SSSR). In 1977 he became the Head Coach for both CSKA Moscow (Central Sport Club of the Army or the Red Army Club as it was known in USA and Canada), and the Soviet National Team. In 1978, he became a Soviet Merited sports coach (ZTR SSSR). He was the Soviet and later CIS and Russian National Team coach until 1994, and the coach for CSKA until 1996. As coach he won:

  • 13 straight Soviet titles (1978–1989)
  • World Championship gold in 1978–1979, 1981–1983,1986,1989,1990.
  • Olympics gold in 1984,1988,1992; silver in 1980.
  • 1979 Challenge Cup and 1981 Canada Cup.

Tikhonov was known for his dictatorial coaching style. He exercised nearly absolute control over his players' lives. His teams practiced for 10 to 11 months a year, and were confined to barracks throughout that time. CSKA was literally part of the Soviet Army during the Soviet era, and Tikhonov was a general. While he publicly supported efforts by his players to go to the NHL, many accuse him of using his contacts within the Soviet government to keep them from leaving (although Soviet Army officials would probably not have allowed them to leave anyway). Tikhonov's fear of defections since the late 1980s was supposedly so great that he often cut players when he thought they might defect. In 1991, for instance, he cut Pavel Bure, Valeri Zelepukin, Evgeny Davydov, and Vladimir Konstantinov just before the 1991 Canada Cup. All of them had been drafted by NHL teams, and Tikhonov might have thought that they might defect if they were allowed to go to the West, just like Alexander Mogilny and Sergei Fedorov. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Tikhonov mellowed his style considerably.[1]

Since his retirement, Tikhonov has lobbied the Russian government for more attention and better financing for the national team.


Viktor's son Vasily was also a professional ice hockey coach, who worked in Finland, United States and Switzerland but moved back to Russia to live with his family. Vasily died in a fall from the window of his Moscow apartment in August 2013.[2]

Viktor's grandson, also named Viktor Tikhonov, was chosen to join Team Russia at the 2007 Super Series against Team Canada after Game Four of the eight-game-series was completed. On June 20, 2008, Tikhonov was selected by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round, 28th overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He currently plays for the SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Honours and awards


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