Anatoli Firsov

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Anatoli Firsov
RUSMARKA-1755.jpg
Anatoli Firsov on a 2013 Russian stamp from the series "Sports Legends"
Born (1941-02-01)1 February 1941
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Died 24 July 2000(2000-07-24) (aged 59)
Moscow, Russia
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 126 lb (57 kg; 9 st 0 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shot Right
Played for Spartak Moscow
CSKA Moscow
National team  Soviet Union
Playing career 1959–1974

Anatoli Vasilievich Firsov (Russian: Анатолий Васильевич Фирсов; 1 February 1941 – 24 July 2000[1]) was a Russian ice hockey left wing and center, who competed internationally for the USSR. In the IIHF World Championships, he won the scoring title four times and was named the best forward three times. He was also named the most valuable player in the Soviet hockey league three times. Between 1964 and 1972, Firsov played 166 games for the national team. He scored 134 goals, and won three Olympic and eight world titles.[2]

No one was as selflessly dedicated to hockey as Firsov or as hard on himself and fanatical in workouts. He even augmented the tough drills designated by Anatoli Tarasov. Coming down the ice with the puck, he would perform a variety of hops, skips and jumps at the same time.

Firsov first came to the Central Red Army and coach Tarasov as a scrawny kid-his bones protruded from under the thin layer of muscle. But at training sessions, he strengthened his body by choosing the roughest, toughest defense men as his opponents, Alexander Ragulin and Viktor Kozkin. He eventually would become one of the best forwards in Soviet hockey. Despite this he would not participate in the 1972 Summit Series against Canada. Many believe this was a result of Tarasov's exclusion from the coaching staff.

Only a person who had a tough time making it in hockey could be so intensely dedicated to the game. I really had it pretty hard, Firsov wrote in his autobiography. There were three kids in the family. My father was killed in the war when I was just a month old. My mother worked as a stoker at the kindergarten, and we didn't have any extra money. I learned how to make my own hockey stick, but with skates it was a much more difficult problem. That's why the leaders of our backyard team put me on the defense line. At that time, defensemen were considered to be second rate players. So kids without skates or a stick, and smaller kids, were put in the position.

In 1972, while still playing for CSKA Moscow, Firsov began working as an assistant coach for the club. Between 1976 and 77 he was the head coach of the Soviet junior team, which won a bronze medal at the 1977 World Championships. From 1977 and until his death he worked as a children’s hockey coach. In 1989, Firsov was elected to the Congress of People's Deputies, running on a policy of improving health conditions and sporting facilities.[3] In 1998, he was inducted to the IIHF Hall of Fame.[2]

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Awards
Preceded by
none
Soviet MVP
1968, 1969
Succeeded by
Viktor Konovalenko
Preceded by
Viktor Konovalenko
Soviet MVP
1971
Succeeded by
Valeri Kharlamov, Alexander Maltsev
Preceded by
none
Soviet Scoring Champion
1966
Succeeded by
Victor Polulanov