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Long time Russian coach Viktor Tikhonov replaced
Viktor Tikhonov has been associtated with Russian/Soviet hockey for most of his life. First as a player with the VVS and Dynamo Moscow clubs but more so as a coach of the CSKA and USSR national hockey teams. Tikhonov led the Soviet and Russian national teams from 1978 to 1994 during which they won three Olympic gold medals (1984, 1988 and 1992) and eight world championship titles. He also led the Soviet national team to the 1981 Canada Cup victory, beating Canada 8-1 in the final, played in Montreal.
The Tikhonov era came to an end last week as the Russian Ice Hockey Federation announced that Zinetula Bilyaletdinov would replace the most successful coach in the history of international ice hockey. Tikhonov was heavily disliked by his players for this strong arm tactics, honed in the communist era and utilized with great skill to achieve his success. But his style had rubbed many players the wrong way and the Russian program has been unable to rekindle its past success in the most recent international hockey events. Bilyaletdinov who played for the national program and has NHL coaching experience with the Jets/Coyotes and Blackhawks has been handed to reins just in time for the upcoming World Cup this fall.