Category Archives: History

Zubov to the Hall!

Sergei Zubov. (Image Source)

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its 2019 induction class today, and the list of honoured Russian players has grown by one! The 2019 list of honorees includes: NCAA coach Jerry York, NHL executive Jim Rutherford, Canadian hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser, staunch defensive forward Guy Carbonneau, and Czechoslovakian superstar Václav Nedomanský. And, it includes one Sergei Alexandrovich Zubov, longtime NHL star as a playmaking defenceman. Read on, as we take a look back at Zubov’s career and accomplishments.

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The Russian Five

There is a new Russian hockey documentary out! The Russian Five, directed by Joshua Riehl, is in some ways a sequel to Gabe Polsky’s 2015 documentary Red Army. Polsky’s film discussed the latter days of Soviet hockey through the eyes primarily of star defenceman Vyacheslav Fetisov; in Riehl’s movie, we pick up the story a few years later, with players from the Soviet Union becoming a more frequent sight in the NHL. The Russian Five, as its title implies, deals with five of those “imports” to the North American game, and with the triumphs and heartbreaks (and there were both) that they encountered on this side of the ocean. And it deals with them well — this is a film that hockey fans should most definitely see. Read on, for a review!

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Selected Quotes of Anatoly Vladimirovich Tarasov

Anatoly Tarasov’s daughter Tatyana, herself a renowned figure-skating coach, looks at her father’s statue outside the CSKA Ice Palace earlier today.  (Image Source)

Today, December 10th, 2018, was a famous anniversary for followers of Russian hockey: it was 100 years ago today that the late Anatoly Vladimirovich Tarasov (1918-1995) was born.  It was Tarasov, revered as the “Father of Russian Hockey” for his work as coach of the Central Red Army team (CSKA Moscow) and the Soviet national side beginning in the late 1950s, who built Soviet hockey into the game of spectacular passing, intricate teamwork, and devastating speed that became its trademarks.  His 100th birthday was marked by a number of ceremonies and festivities, including the unveiling of a statue outside CSKA’s old arena on Leningradsky avenue (a venue to which the team itself had returned, in vintage uniforms, for a KHL game against Avangard Omsk last Thursday).  Moscow’s Sports Department also announced the re-naming of the city’s Megasport Arena in Tarasov’s honour, and there have been a number of special exhibitions devoted to him this autumn.  As anniversaries go, this was a big one in the Russian hockey world — reasonably so, too.  And read on, as we hear from the man in his own words!  

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Yakushev to the Hall!


Alexander Yakushev. (Image Source)

The Hockey Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2018 today, and an impressive one it is too.  In the Builders Category: longtime NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman along with Willie O’Ree, the first black man to play in the NHL.  To be inducted as Players: five-time Canadian Olympian Jayna Hefford, former New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, feared Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Martin St. Louis… and 1970s-era Soviet star left-winger Alexander Yakushev.  The last of those is obviously of great interest here, so read on, for a look back at Mr. Yakushev’s career!

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Viktor Shuvalov in his Own Words

As part of the ongoing celebration of the 70th anniversary of Soviet hockey, the Russian Hockey Federation has been publishing, on its website, brief vignettes on famous figures from the history of the sport in the country.  Above is the video posted this week containing some absolutely fascinating reminiscences by former national team forward Viktor Shuvalov.  Now 94, Shuvalov is the last surviving member of the World Champion Soviet team from 1954, as well as from the Olympic champions of 1956.  I have translated the text of Shuvalov’s remarks, so read on for his recollections of the Soviet national team in the 1950s and his team-mates, of the hard times of the 1990s, and of the saga of his Olympic gold medal.

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A Walk Through the KHL: September 24th, 2017


Amur Khabarovsk’s rink undergoes the transformation from IIHF to North American dimensions.  (Image Source)

Herewith we start up again with the weekly KHL news notes!  As with last season, each team gets a short mention of something newsworthy or interesting each week.  And as before, I have arranged the teams in order of the current Conference standings.  It is my intention to have this be an “every Sunday” feature, so read on… although on this occasion we start with a particularly horrible news story involving a name from the era of hockey in the Soviet Union.

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Reborn: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the VHL, 2011-12

We will remember…

KHL arenas were dark on Thursday, as always on September 7th, in observance of the anniversary of the 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air disaster.  The crash of Yak-Service flight 9633, carrying the team to Minsk to face Dinamo in their opening game of the 2011-12 KHL season, killed all 26 players on board, all 11 members of Lokomotiv’s coaching and training staff, and seven out of eight members of the flight crew.

Players: Vitaly Anikeyenko, Mikhail Balandin, Alexander Galimov, Gennady Churilov, Pavol Demitra, Robert Dietrich, Marat Kalimulin, Alexander Kalyanin, Andrei Kiryuhin, Nikita Klyukin, Stefan Liv, Jan Marek, Sergei Ostapchuk, Karel Rachůnek, Ruslan Salei, Maxim Shuvalov, Kārlis Skrastiņš, Pavel Snurnytsin, Daniil Sobchenko, Ivan Tkachenko, Pavel Trakhanov, Yury Urychev, Josef Vašíček, Alexander Vasyunov, Alexander Vyukhin, Artem Yarchuk.

Coaches: Alexander Karpovtsev, Igor Korolyov, Nikolai Krivonosov, Brad McCrimmon.

Staff: Yury Bakhvalov, Alexander Belyaev, Evgeny Kunnov, Vyacheslav Kuznetsov, Vladimir Piskunov, Evgeny Sidorov. Andrei Zimin.

Airplane crew: Nadezhda Maksumova, Vladimir Matyushkin, Elena Sarmatova, Elena Shalina, Andrei Solomentsev, Igor Zhevelov, Sergei Zhuravlev.

The memory of the disaster remains a very painful one, for the hockey fans of Yaroslavl especially but also throughout the hockey world, as witness the large numbers of tributes and remembrances that appear every year at this time.  But there is another story to be told here, because Lokomotiv came back.  Although it would be a full year before the team, rebuilt basically from scratch, next appeared in a KHL game, the club’s junior side continued to play in the MHL, and midway through that 2011-12 season Lokomotiv iced a professional hockey side once again.  Read on, for the story Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the VHL.

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1956-57: Wings


The Luzhniki Small Sports Arena.  (Image Source)

It has been far too long since the last entry in this series (a year and half, I see)!  When last we checked in, we looked at the 1955-56 season, won by the Central Red Army team, CSK MO Moscow (now CSKA), on the strength of a perfect 28-0 record.  Could anyone unseat the two-time defending champions?  Read on…

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Vladimir Petrov, 1947-2017


Vladimir Petrov. (Image Source)

Russian hockey, and indeed the world of hockey in general, was in mourning today after hearing of the death in a Moscow hospital of Vladimir Petrov.  Petrov, 69 years old, was an all-time hockey great, a member of one of the sport’s most famous forward lines through the 1970s.  Read on, as we take a look back at his life and career.

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Long Shots

It is, as the old cliché goes, the goalie’s worst nightmare (one of them, anyway) and it came to visit Mikhail Biryukov of Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday evening.  With his team in overtime, looking to level their first-round playoff series against Dynamo Moscow at a game apiece, Biryukov utterly failed to deal with a shot by opposing defenseman Andrei Kuteikin — a shot that was unleashed from the far-off realm of centre ice.  It was a Bad Goal, one that the more unimaginative hockey commentators will name “One The Goalie Would Like To Have Back.”  Worse, it gave Dynamo a 3-2 victory in the game, and a 2-0 lead in the series.  Read on, as we travel down memory lane and discover that it was not the first time a Dynamo Moscow rearguard has scored a vital goal in a big game from a different time-zone.

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