Viktor Tikhonov would have turned 91 today. There is no other coach in the world with such a list of outstanding wins. Under his leadership, CSKA won 12 national championships; Viktor Vasilyevich trained world-class stars, saved CSKA during the time of troubles and helped the club return to the domestic hockey elite.
In 1977, Tikhonov stepped behind the bench of the national team and became the CSKA head coach. Since two consecutive defeats of the USSR national team at the 1976 and 1977 World Championships, it was decided to make the CSKA club the base for the national team. Sergey Kapustin from Krylia Sovetov and Helmut Balderis from Dinamo Riga joined the team.
The CSKA old-timers were watchful of the new coach. At first, Tikhonov had a rough time. The Czechoslovak national team hammered the players of his team with a 3-8 score in the 1977 Izvestia Cup tournament, and it did not give much ground for optimism before the World Cup in Prague. However, in the capital of Czechoslovakia, the national team went the whole nine yard to regain the championship title. Moreover, after beating the NHL team at the 1979 Challenge Cup and the 1979 World Cup in Moscow, the coach's authority boosted.
A blunder at the 1980 Olympics forced Viktor Vasilyevich to start developing new teams – CSKA and the national team. The old-timers were replaced by ambitious second-stringers - Vladimir Krutov, Sergei Makarov, Alexei Kasatonov, Andrei Khomutov, and Mikhail Vasilyev.
Viktor Vasilyevich was always thinking about the future, prepared the trainees, trusted the youth and let them be on the team. This was one of the CSKA traditions.
At the Canada Cup in 1981 the coach presented a new forward group consisting of Makarov - Larionov - Krutov, Fetisov - Kasatonov, which was rightfully considered the best in world hockey in the 1980s. In general, Tikhonov was known as a great master of creating super forward groups. At the '87 Rendez-vous in Quebec, the Khomutov-Bykov-Kamensky forward group scored a big win in two games against the NHL team (3-4, 5-3), the latter being named the MVP of the series. A year and a half later, the world marveled at the forward group of Mogilny - Fedorov - Bure, which was to become the successor to the KLM line (Krutov - Larionov - Makarov).
Viktor Vasilievich was distinguished by his fantastic capacity for work; he personally studied his opponents and came up with innovations. The four-forward group game is his know-how. Tikhonov was often seen at the most boring matches taking a notebook in his hands. He was noticing and noting down many things.
When the situation in the country changed, in the era of openness (glasnost), Tikhonov did not respond to public accusations of old-style leadership methods. "I could have, but I decided not to waste time," Viktor Vasilyevich explained it this way.
At the same time, he was not grudge-holding, hockey came first for him. He could forgive, but sometimes he made tough decisions. For example, he axed the goalkeeper Belosheikin for systematic regime violations, the forward Vyazmikin, whom he considered the most talented player among all those with whom he had a chance to work.
When all the leaders left the CSKA club, Tikhonov did not leave the club, he continued working. In the mid-1990s the young CSKA brought in a full house at the Leningrad Prospect arena, while the championship leader Dinamo had less than a thousand spectators.
Tikhonov prepared for the national team a bunch of forwards Romanov-Belov, who played at the 1995 World Cup. Soon Samsonov became a new star, who became the first in the new history of Russia (Makarov is not counted), who managed to win the "Calder Trophy" for the best NHL rookie.
Tikhonov kept CSKA, in 2003 at the age of 73 he was invited to lead the national team. Everyone firmly believed that the famous coach would be able to perform a miracle. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. Nevertheless, it was with him that Alexander Ovechkin made his national team debut.
In the 1990s, Tikhonov was not about the results, even working in the major leagues, he was bringing talents to light. The goalkeeper Eremeyev, fullbacks Denisov and Kulyash, and forward Mozyakin, currently the sharpshooter of the sharpshooter and all national championships, made their debut in Viktor Vasilievich's creative laboratory.
And in 2012, thanks to Tikhonov, the cooperation between CSKA and Rosneft began, thanks to which the club returned to the leaders not only of Russian hockey, but also became the best club in Europe. It is a pity Viktor Vasilyevich didn't live to see the day when the Moscow CSKA players won the Gagarin Cup.
Viktor Vasilyevich Tikhonov was born in Moscow on June 4, 1930. He started working in war period at the age of 12 as a mechanic in the bus depot, and he joined the CDKA (now the CSKA) at the age of 15 after the war, played football and ball hockey, and started playing hockey later.
In 1949-1953 he played as a fullback for the Air Force of the Moscow Military District, in 1953-1963 it was "Dynamo" (Moscow), he was a three-times champion of the USSR. In the USSR championships, he played 296 matches, scored 35 goals.
He began his own coaching career in 1966 in the club "Dinamo" (Riga), before which he worked for three years as an assistant coach in Moscow "Dinamo". In Riga, he was able to achieve significant success, leading the team to fourth place in the USSR championship, repeating the team's greatest achievement of 24 years ago.
In 1977, Tikhonov started his coaching career at CSKA. Over a decade and a half, the CSKA, led by Tikhonov, won the national championship 12 times, 14 European Champions Cup and twice won the USSR Cup. At that time, CSKA players Vyacheslav Fetisov, Alexei Kasatonov, Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov, Sergey Makarov, Valery Kamensky, Sergey Fedorov, Alexander Mogilny, and Pavel Bure became world-renowned hockey players.
In 1977, Viktor Tikhonov also led the USSR national team, which began to regularly win the World Championships in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1990, European Championships during a 1978-1991 period. Under Tikhonov, the national team won the Olympics three times - in 1984, 1988 and 1992. Tikhonov was the head coach when the 1980 Olympics team unexpectedly lost in the final to the United States. Being guided by him, the team won the Canada Cup in 1981.
In 1994, for the first time in the history of Russian hockey, the Russian national team, led by Tikhonov, was left without Olympic awards. After that, Tikhonov resigned as head coach of the national team, but was still CSKA coach. In the summer of 2003, after the national team had several coaches who had unsuccessfully tried to lead it out of its crisis, the 73-year-old Viktor Tikhonov once again received an offer to lead the Russian national team. However, after his unsuccessful performance at the 2004 World Championships, Viktor Tikhonov resigned his coaching work.
In 1998 he was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.
Bowing to Tikhonov's merits in national hockey and on his 70th birthday, the Russian Cosmonautics Federation awarded the famous coach with a medal named after the first cosmonaut in history, Yuri Gagarin.
Until 2014, he was honorary president of the CSKA hockey team.
He passed away following a long illness on November 24, 2014.
His son Vasily (1958-2013) was also a hockey coach, worked in Finland and was a head coach at Avangard of Omsk, Ak Bars Kazan and CSKA. His grandson Victor is a hockey player, forward, world champion (2014), winner of the Gagarin Cup (2015, 2017), he played for Severstal, SKA, Arizona Coyotes (until 2014 - Phoenix Coyotes), Chicago Blackhawks, Ak Bars, and on May 2, 2021 he moved to Salavat Yulaev.
As a player:
1951-1954 USSR champion (three times being part of the Air Force and once of Dynamo Moscow)
second prize winner in 1959, 1960, 1962 and 1963
third prize winner from 1955 to 1958
winner of the USSR Cup in 1952
As a coach:
Olympic Champion in 1984, 1988, 1992;
1978, 1981-1983, 1986, 1989, 1990 world champion;
1978-1989 USSR Champion;
Winner of the USSR Cup, 1979 and 1988
14-time winner of the European Champions Cup
Challenge Cup Winner in 1979
Winner of the Canada Cup in 1981
Order of Lenin (1983)
Order of the October Revolution (1988)
Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1978)
Order of Friendship of Peoples (1981)
Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 3rd class (December 20, 1996) - for services to the state and outstanding contribution to the development of domestic ice hockey
Order of Honor (June 3, 2000) - for great contributions to the development of Russian hockey
Order of Friendship (June 2010) - for great contribution to the development of domestic sports
Medal "For Labor Distinction" (1999)
He was one of the first in the country to be awarded the First class Medal of Military Valor established by the Russian Defense Minister.
chevalier of the Olympic Order
Member of the IIHF Hall of Fame.
Victor Tikhonov's name is inscribed in the Museum of Olympic Glory (in Lausanne).
On November 24, 2015, the Continent Cup, a trophy awarded to the winner of the KHL regular season, was named after Viktor Vasilyevich Tikhonov. The CSKA has won it six times – in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021 – more than any other KHL team.