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Legendary Soviet hockey coach Viktor Vasilyevich Tikhonov dies

Successful player and pioneer coach led the Soviet “Big Red Machine” into unparalleled world success, winning three Olympic gold medals (1984, 1988, 1992; silver in 1980) and eight world championships. He also coached Central Red Army to 12 straight Soviet titles (1978–1989) and 13 straight European titles. As a player (defenceman) from 1949 to 1963, 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. In 1950, he became a Soviet Sports Master. For opposing the theft of athletes by the National Hockey League, he was demonized as “ruthless” and suppressor of “freedom” by the corporate sports media.

Feb. 5, 1979: Coach Victor Tikhonov, talks to the Soviet National Hockey team during practice for the Challenge Cup Series game in New York's Madison Square Garden | RON FREHM / AP FILE PHOTO

Feb. 5, 1979: Coach Viktor Tikhonov, talks to the Soviet National Hockey team during practice for the Challenge Cup Series game in New York’s Madison Square Garden | RON FREHM / AP

AP | MOSCOW (Nov. 24) —Viktor Tikhonov, the Soviet hockey coach whose teams won three Olympic gold medals but fell to the United States in the Miracle on Ice, died after a long illness. He was 84.

Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League said early Monday that Tikhonov died during the night. He had been receiving treatment at home for an undisclosed illness that had left him unable to walk in recent weeks.

“The entire global hockey community has lost a great coach,” Vladislav Tretiak, who played goalie for Tikhonov’s Soviet team and now heads the Russian Hockey Federation, told Russia’s R-Sport news agency.

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