Viktor Tikhonov, the legendary coach of the Soviet Union national team powerhouses, died Monday after a long illness. He was 84.
Tikhonov won three Olympic gold medals and eight World Championships as the coach of the Soviet national team, later the Russian national team, between 1979 and 1992. He also led his team to the title at the 1981 Canada Cup, a competition which pitted the best players from the top hockey-playing countries.
He also won an Olympic silver medal as well as a silver medal and two bronze medals at the World Championships. In many circles, Tikhonov gained the most notice for the Olympic silver medal, which came in 1980 at Lake Placid when his powerhouse team was upset by the United States in the medal round in a contest that became known as the "Miracle on Ice."
In that game, Tikhonov replaced Viacheslav Tretiak, considered by many to be the best goalie in the world, with Vladimir Mishkyn after Tretiak allowed two first-period goals. The Americans shocked the hockey world by winning the game 4-3. It was a loss that would haunt Tikhonov for the rest of an otherwise amazing coaching career.
Domestically, Tikhonov led CSKA Moscow, the country's biggest and most popular club, to 13 league titles from 1977 to 1989 and 13 straight European Cup titles from 1978-90.
Tikhonov was born in Moscow in 1930 and played defense in Russia's top professional league, winning four championships. He also coached Dinamo Riga before landing the job with CSKA Moscow.
The honors for the impact he had on both Russian hockey and the international game are legendary. He is in the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame as a builder and is also a member of the Russian Hall of Fame. He is also an Hounoured Master of Sport.
Tikhonov is survived by his wife, Tatyana, and his grandchildren. His son, Vasili, died in 2013.
His grandson, Viktor, plays for SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League and was a member of the Russian Olympic Team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He also played in the NHL, dressing for 61 games for the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008-09.