Soviet Union national ice hockey team
|Most games||Alexander Maltsev (321)|
|Top scorer||Alexander Maltsev (213)|
|Most points||Sergei Makarov (248)|
| Soviet Union 23 – 2 East Germany
(East Berlin, East Germany; 22 April 1951)
| Soviet Union 28 – 2 Italy
(Colorado Springs, United States; 26 December 1967)
| Canada 8 – 2 Soviet Union
Ottawa, Canada; 9 January 1986)
Czechoslovakia 9 – 3 Soviet Union
(Prague, Czechoslovakia; 21 March 1975)
|IIHF World Championships|
|Appearances||32 (first in 1954)|
|Best result||1st (1954, 1956, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1990)|
|Best result||1st (1981)|
|Appearances||9 (first in 1956)|
|Medals||Gold: 7 (1956, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988)
Silver: 1 (1980)
Bronze: 1 (1960)
|International record (W–L–T)|
|Olympic medal record|
|Men's ice hockey|
The Soviet national ice hockey team was the national ice hockey team of the Soviet Union. The team won nearly every world championship and Olympic tournament between 1954 and 1991 and never failed to medal in any International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) tournament they competed in.
After 1991, the Soviet team competed as the Unified Team at the 1992 Winter Olympics and as the Commonwealth of Independent States at the 1992 World Championship. In 1993, it was replaced by national teams for Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine. The IIHF recognized the Russian ice hockey federation as the successor to the Soviet Union hockey federation and passed its ranking on to Russia. The other national hockey teams were considered new and sent to compete in Pool C.
The IIHF Centennial All-Star Team included four Soviet-Russian players out of a team of six: goalie Vladislav Tretiak, defenseman Vyacheslav Fetisov and forwards Valeri Kharlamov and Sergei Makarov who played for the Soviet teams in the 1970s and the 1980s were selected for the team in 2008.
Ice hockey was not properly introduced into the Soviet Union until the 1940s, though bandy, a similar game played on ice, had long been popular in the country. It was during a tour of FC Dynamo Moscow of the United Kingdom in 1945 that Soviet officials first got the idea of establishing an ice hockey program. They watched several exhibition matches in London, and National Hockey League President Clarence Campbell would later say that "This was the time when the Russians got the idea for their hockey team. The Russian soccer players were more interested in watching Canadian players play hockey than in soccer." The Soviet Championship League was established in 1946, and the national team was formed shortly after, playing their first matches in a series of exhibitions against LTC Praha in 1948.
The Soviets planned to send a team to the 1953 World Championships, but due to an injury to Vsevolod Bobrov, one of their star players, officials decided against going. They would make their debut at the 1954 World Championships instead. Largely unknown to the larger hockey world, the team surprised many by winning the gold medal.
Throughout the rest of the 1950s the World Championships were largely contested between Canada and the Soviet Union. That changed in the early 1960s. Canada won the gold in 1961, and after missing the 1962 tournament due to political issues, the Soviets would win the gold medal every year until 1972. They faced perhaps their greatest upset at the 1976 World Championships; in their opening match against host Poland, the Soviets were defeated 6–4.
In 1972 the Soviets played Canada in an exhibition series that saw the Soviet national team play a team composed of National Hockey League (NHL) players for the first time. Both the Olympics and World Championships did not allow professionals, so the best Canadian players were never able to compete against the Soviets, and in protest at this Canada had left international hockey in 1970. This series, known as the Summit Series, was a chance to see how the NHL players would fare. In eight games (four in Canada, four in the USSR), the teams were close, and it took until the final 34 seconds of the eighth game for Canada to win the series, four games to three, with one tie.
At the 1980 Winter Olympics, the Soviets also had one of their most notable losses. Playing the United States in the medal round, the Soviets lost 4–3. This match, later dubbed the Miracle on Ice, was notable because it had the Soviets, recognized as the top international team in the world, against an American team composed largely of university-level players. The Americans would go on to win the gold medal in the tournament, while the Soviets finished with the silver, only the second time they failed to win gold at the Olympics since their debut in 1956.
The reforms of the 1980s in the Soviet Union had a detrimental effect on the national team. No longer afraid to speak out against their treatment, players like Viacheslav Fetisov and Igor Larionov openly critiqued the management style of their coach, Viktor Tikhonov, which included being seculded in a military-style barracks for eleven months of the year. They also sought the chance to move to North America and play in the NHL, though the authorities were reluctant to allow this. Negotiations with the NHL began in the late 1980s over this, and in 1989 several players, including both Fetisov and Larionov, were permitted to leave the Soviet Union and join NHL teams.
The advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete" of the Eastern Bloc countries further eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put the self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage. The Soviet Union entered teams of athletes who were all nominally students, soldiers, or working in a profession, but many of whom were in reality paid by the state to train on a full-time basis. Nevertheless, the IOC held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism.
- Sergei Makarov – 248 points
- Aleksandr Maltsev – 213+ points
- Valeri Kharlamov – 199 points
- Boris Mikhailov – 180 points
- Vladimir Petrov – 176 points
World Championship record
Summit Series record
- 1972 – Lost to Canada (against Canadian NHL players)
- 1974 – Won series against Canada (against Canadian WHA players)
Canada Cup record
Challenge Cup and Rendez-vous vs. NHL All-Stars
- Yevgeny Babich
- Helmuts Balderis
- Vsevolod Bobrov
- Vyacheslav Bykov
- Vitaly Davydov
- Vyacheslav Fetisov
- Anatoli Firsov
- Valeri Kamensky
- Sergei Kapustin
- Alexei Kasatonov
- Valeri Kharlamov
- Vladimir Krutov
- Alfred Kuchevsky
- Igor Larionov
- Sergei Makarov
- Alexander Maltsev
- Boris Mikhailov
- Vladimir Petrov
- Alexander Ragulin
- Vyacheslav Starshinov
- Vladislav Tretiak
- Valeri Vasiliev
- Alexander Yakushev
- Yevgeni Zimin
- Viktor Zinger
|1953–1957||Arkady Chernyshev||1 Olympic gold medal, 2 World Championship gold medals, 2 World Championship silver medals|
|1958–1960||Anatoli Tarasov||1 Olympic bronze medal, 2 World Championship silver medals|
|1961–1972||Arkady Chernyshev||3 Olympic gold medals, 9 World Championship gold medals, 1 World Championship silver medal, 1 World Championship bronze medal|
|1972–1974||Vsevolod Bobrov||2 World Championship gold medals|
|1974–1977||Boris Kulagin||1 Olympic gold medal, 1 World Championship gold medal, 1 World Championship silver medal, 1 World Championship bronze medal|
|1977–1991||Viktor Tikhonov||2 Olympic gold medals, 1 Olympic silver medal, 8 World Championship gold medals, 2 World Championship silver medals, 2 World Championship bronze medals|
- IIHF (2008). "Who are the best six of all time?". IIHF.com. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
- Martin, Lawrence (1990). The Red Machine: The Soviet Quest to Dominate Canada’s Game. Toronto: Doubleday Canada. pp. 25–26.
- Martin. The Red Machine. p. 31–32.
- Martin. The Red Machine. p. 34.
- IIHF (2008). "Soviets hammer Canada, win gold at their first Worlds". IIHF.com. Retrieved 2017-05-20.
- IIHF (2008). "1972 – Soviet streak of nine straight World golds ends". IIHF.com. Retrieved 2017-05-21.
- IIHF (2008). "Poland scores biggest shocker in World Championship history". IIHF.com. Retrieved 2017-05-21.
- MacSkimming, Roy (1996). Cold War: The Amazing Canada-Soviet Hockey Series of 1972. Greystone Books.
- Coffey, Wayne (2005). The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. New York City: Crown Publishers.
- Benjamin, Daniel (1992-07-27). "Traditions Pro Vs. Amateur". Time. Retrieved 2009-03-18.
- Schantz, Otto. "The Olympic Ideal and the Winter Games Attitudes Towards the Olympic Winter Games in Olympic Discourses—from Coubertin to Samaranch" (PDF). Comité International Pierre De Coubertin. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2008.
- Johannes Nylander (10 December 2013). "Sören Olsson om Sunes jul" (in Swedish). Sveriges Television. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
- Martin, Lawrence (1990), The Red Machine: The Soviet Quest to Dominate Canada's Game, Toronto: Doubleday Canada, ISBN 0-385-25272-2
- Podnieks, Andrew; Szemberg, Szymon (2008), World of Hockey: Celebrating a Century of the IIHF, Key Porter Books, ISBN 1-55168-307-5
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