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Original Issue

Viktor Tikhonov 1930--2014

In the 2014 documentary Red Army, former Soviet captain Viacheslav Fetisov says of coach Viktor Tikhonov, "He give us drills, discipline. He wants to see us still as puppets, dancing to his whistle for the rest of our lives. That's dictatorship." Indeed, Tikhonov, who died on Monday at age 84 after suffering from an undisclosed illness, was known as the dictator of Soviet hockey, and he ruled with an authority and austerity befitting his time and country. Housing players in barracks away from their families for up to 11 months a year, Tikhonov demanded discipline and excellence. As head coach of CSKA, he won 13 straight Soviet League titles and led national teams to three Olympic gold medals before retiring in 1996. The only blemish on his coaching record: the loss to the U.S. at the 1980 Winter Olympics.