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The Legend's Grandson

Author: Joseph D'Hippolito

May/June 2016
Page 46   ( 4 pages)

Summary: It can't be easy to make a mark in a sport where your grandfather long ago made your family name legendary, but Victor Tikhonov is giving it a snapshot.


Viktor Tikhonov was, by any definition, a Soviet hockey legend.

As coach of the USSR’s national team (known in North America as The Big Red Machine), Tikhonov led the squad for 22 seasons, winning three Olympic gold medals (1984, 1988, 1992) and eight world championships.* Meanwhile, on domestic ice, Tikhonov guided the Soviet Union’s best team, CSKA Moscow, to 12 national championships in 20 seasons.

Now, nearly 30 years later, another Viktor Tikhonov, the elder’s grandson, is also trying to etch his name in hockey history. With many Russian players like Tikhonov playing in the NHL, the 27-year-old says he has to work to maintain a balance between the Russian and American aspects of his personality.

“I still feel I’m a bit more Russian,” Tikhonov said, “but I know that my American is definitely up there. I couldn’t really put a percentage on it. But I’m definitely more than half Russian and a little bit under half American.”

Born in Riga when his father, Vasily, was coaching Dynamo Riga’s hockey club, the younger Tikhonov came to the US by way of Latvia and Finland. The family moved to California when Viktor was four, after Vasily took a job as an assistant coach with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.

As a result, the first sport Viktor fell in love with was not hockey but surfing.

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