Soviet hockey coach Tikhonov dies at 84

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Soviet Hockey Coach Viktor Tikhonov Dies
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Soviet hockey coach Tikhonov dies at 84
Viktor Tikhonov left and Vladimir Yurzinov right coaches of the Soviet ice hockey select team
Viktor Tikhonov the chief coach of the CSKA Club and the Soviet national hockey team
CSKA coach Viktor Tikhonov with the team
Coach Viktor Tikhonov centre instructing CSKA hockey players during time out at CSKA Dynamo match
Viktor Tikhonov head coach of the Soviet ice hockey select team during Fourteenth Winter Olympics
Viktor Tikhonov chief hockey coach overseeing the match
Viktor Tikhonov senior coach of the CSKA and USSR national hockey teams Merited Coach of the Latvian SSR
Viktor Tikhonov head coach of the Soviet ice hockey select team center during training session
CSKA chief coach Viktor Tikhonov instructing hockey players during work outs
The Soviet national hockey team s coach Viktor Tikhonov right and hockey player Alexander Maltsev left at the international
Chief coach of CSKA and USSR national hockey team Viktor Tikhonov
The Soviet national hockey team s chief coach Viktor Tikhonov watching his trainees play at the world and European championship
Senior coach of the Soviet national team and CSKA Viktor Tikhonov right and forward of the Soviet national and CSKA teams
Viktor Tikhonov Honored coach of the U S S R right and his brother soldier during the meeting of WWII veterans near the Bolshoi
FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006 file photo, Legendary Soviet ice hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov, centre, stands at the "Team USSR" bench prior to the charity ice hockey match, at the Moscow's Red Square. The legendary Russian hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov, whose teams won three Olympic gold medals, has died after an undisclosed long illness. He was 84. Russia's Kontinental Hockey League said early Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, that Tikhonov died overnight. He had been receiving treatment at home for an illness that had left him unable to walk in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)
CANADA - FEBRUARY 12: Guess who's winning Rendez-Vous series? Winning sure is fun. And Team NHL's 4-3 victory over the Soviets Wednesday night certainly showed in the faces of players on the respective teams at yesterday's practice sessions. While the NHL stars wore broad grins and joked among themselves during the team's workout at the Quebec Colisee; this Soviet trio had little to smile about the mirrored the expression on the face of their ever taciturn coach; Viktor Tikhonov. (Photo by Jeff Goode/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 31: Head coach Viktor Tikhonov of CSKA Moscow looks on from the bench during the 1985-86 Super Series against the Montreal Canadiens on December 31, 1985 at the Montreal Forum in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)
CANADA - FEBRUARY 12: Guess who's winning Rendez-Vous series? Winning sure is fun. And Team NHL's 4-3 victory over the Soviets Wednesday night certainly showed in the faces of players on the respective teams at yesterday's practice sessions. While the NHL stars wore broad grins and joked among themselves during the team's workout at the Quebec Colisee; this Soviet trio had little to smile about and mirrored the expression on the face of their ever taciturn coach; Viktor Tikhonov. (Photo by Jeff Goode/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
LILLEHAMMER, NORWAY - 1994: Head coach Viktor Tikhonov of the Russian National Team looks on from behind the bench during a game in the 1994 Winter Olympics circa February of 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 28: Head coach Viktor Tikhonov of the USSR looks at the translator and referee during 1982-83 Super Series against the Edmonton Oilers on December 28, 1982 at the Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)
Russian ice hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov talks to his players who sit on the bench, January 1983. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
Russian ice hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov (center) of CSKA Moscow (Red Army) talks with player Alexei Kasatonov behind the bench during a game, 1980s. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, CANADA - CIRCA SEPTEMBER, 1976: Soviet Union coach Viktor Tikhonov looks on during practice before the Canada Cup series at the Montreal Forum circa September, 1976 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)
FILE - In this 1980 file photo, Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak allows a goal by the U.S. team in the first period of a medal-round hockey game at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Tretiak said the U.S. hockey team taught the Soviets a "good lesson" about respecting competitors by beating them in the 1980 Olympics. Tretiak, the three-time Olympic gold medalist, gave up two goals in the first period of the "Miracle on Ice" at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics and then was benched in what is widely regarded as the greatest upset in Olympic history. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 22, 1980 file photo, The United States' Mark Johnson (10) prepares to shoot puck into the net for the second U.S. goal in the first period of a semifinal hockey game as the Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretjak defends at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. The U.S. won 4-3. Although Mark Johnson is sitting on the mother of all hockey motivational stories, he's waiting until just the right moment to break it out for the U.S. women's team. Johnson was the reason for the "Miracle on Ice" 30 years ago, scoring two goals for the U.S. hockey team when they toppled the Soviets. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Feb. 22, 1980, file photo, The United States ice hockey team rushes toward goalie Jim Craig after their 4-3 upset win over the Soviet Union in the semi-final round of the XIII Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., The American players from left are, Mark Johnson (10); Eric Strobel (19); William Schneider (25); David Christian (23); Mark Wells (15); Steve Cristoff (11); Bob Suter (20), Philip Verchota (27). John O'Callahan is hugged by Michael Ramsey. Although Mark Johnson is sitting on the mother of all hockey motivational stories, he's waiting until just the right moment to break it out for the U.S. women's team. Johnson was the reason for the "Miracle on Ice" 30 years ago, scoring two goals for the U.S. hockey team when they toppled the Soviets. (AP Photo/File)
** FILE ** USA coach Herb Brooks, center, looks on from the bench during the closing minutes of the semifinal game against the USSR at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, in a Feb. 22, 1980 photo, in Lake Placid, N.Y. "Miracle on Ice" coach Herb Brooks and Patrick Roy, the NHL's winningest goaltender, highlight the newest class of the Hockey Hall of Fame. (AP Photo)
Soviet hockey goalie Vladislav Tretiak hits the ice as puck goes into the net on a score by Mark Johnson of the U.S. team in the closing moments of the first period in the Olympic playoff game in Lake Placid, N.Y., Feb. 22, 1980. (AP Photo)
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MOSCOW (AP) -- 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.

"He devoted his entire life to hockey until the last second. Even when I was with him in hospital, we were discussing what needed to be done and how, in order to raise the Russian national team to the very highest level."

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to Tikhonov's family, the Kremlin said. The Russian Sports Ministry called his death an "irreplaceable loss" for hockey fans worldwide.

While a successful player, winning four Soviet titles as a defenseman, Tikhonov came into his own during 14 years in charge of the Soviet national team.

Under Tikhonov, the Soviet "Big Red Machine" was a powerhouse, although it had to settle for the silver medal at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid after the stunning defeat to the United States.

Tikhonov's teams went on to win Olympic gold in 1984 and 1988, and he took the post-Soviet Unified Team to another gold at the 1992 Games. He also led the Soviet team to eight world championship titles.

An authoritarian leader with a taste for intense training sessions, Tikhonov used the Soviet political system to control his players and was known to cut star players from the team for international tournaments if he feared they might defect to the West.

Tikhonov's funeral will take place Thursday with a memorial service at CSKA Moscow, the club he coached to 14 national championships, Russian media reported.

Tikhonov remained an active coach until 2004, when he stepped down from the Russian national team aged 73 after an unsuccessful comeback. He continued to shape Russian hockey as part of the management of CSKA and the Russian Hockey Federation until this year.

In recent years, Tikhonov provided guidance to his grandson, also named Viktor Tikhonov, a former player for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Tikhonov's only son Vasily, who spent three years as assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks, died last year in a fall at his Moscow apartment.

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