Tuesday, November 3, 2009

IGOR VIAZMIKIN (1966 - 2009)

Igor Viazmikin (14). October 1997. Photo by author

Another sad news came from Russia. On October 30, 2009 Igor Viazmikin passed away after long illness . He was 44 only.

Igor Viazmikin was born in Moscow on January 8, 1966. His dad brought him to the Red Army hockey school when Igor was 6. When he was 12 the family has lost the elder son who by this time played hockey for Spartak Moscow farm club.

He played his first game for the famous Red Army when he was 16 only and scored his first goal during his debut game against Sokol Kiev.

After 1986 World Junior championship where he won the gold medal and was elected to All Stars team, Igor was included to the Soviet national team to take part in 1986 Moscow World championship to play with his line mates Konstantinov and Kamensky. It never happened. At the very last practice he has got injury working on perfection of the power play. He missed the Worlds, has no chance to do it again.

In 1989 he left Red Army to play for Khimik. Next season he tried to make Edmonton roster. Igor played 4 NHL games (1 goal) but was sent to the farm. He decided to come back to Europe and for the several years played in Denmark, Italy and Finland.

In 1997 he returned to Russia where he played for CSKA and Severstal during the next 2 seasons. (43 games, 9 goals, 11 assists)

Two-times World Junior champion, four-times the Soviet champion Igor Viazmikin had serious problems with his attitude to hockey through his entire career. Unfortunately, I have to make it clear. First of all, Igor should blame himself for the failure of his very promising career. His alcohol addiction was well-known around the hockey World many-many years before he finished to play hockey. Igor Larionov has mentioned it openly as an argument in his famous fight against Viktor Tikhonov. I am not too sure what kind of decease Igor was suffering all his last years. I guess Alex Kasatonov once told it was leukemia.

Any way, Igor Viazmikin has joint the long list of the Russian players of his generation who passed away too early. Evgeny Belosheikin, Igor Stelnov, Alexander Chernykh, Andrei Lomakin among many others are on this sad list.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Tommy, your answer is correct on the photo that I published last time is Deutsche Demokratische Republic vs. Sweden game.

I'm bringing the next one from the same Olympic tournament to your attention. Can you name this team as well?

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Can you name the team which plays against team Sweden? I'll give you a hint - this photo from my archive was taken in 1968 during the Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France


Goran Hogosta. Prague 1978

Arthur Chidlovski said...

Roland was great... but if you ask me, it was Goran Hogosta, the goalie, who was the hero in 1977. I think Viktor Tikhonov should send him a huge pay check because in many ways he owes him for all his future success...it was Hogosta whom the soviets couldn't score against. as a result, soviet head coach Kulagin had to step down and that's how Tikhonov began to coach Team USSR.

That's right, Arthur
I agree. For some reason Goran had no success when he joint Quebec Nordiques in 1979-80 season. He played 21 games only with horrible 4.15 goal-against result.
But do you know that in fact Hogosta tried to make New York Islanders roster actually played one regulation game for them in 1977-78 season? The best goalie of the 1977 World championship played 9 minutes only wearing Islanders jersey, his task was more than tough - to compete with Billy Smith and Glenn Resch who was the best NHL goalie pair for this moment.

For some reason Quebec is not the best place for European goalies to play hockey. I mean Sergei Mylnikov...

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Roland Eriksson. Late 80s

It was almost unthinkable. Entering the very last day of 1977 World championship team Czechoslovakia has the gold medals almost shining on it's players jerseys.... Why is "almost"? The final touch was to beat team Canada. This task did not look too hard. Canada lost to Soviets 1:11 and 1:8.

The game Czechoslovakia vs. Canada has proved it. It was really "one way traffic". The final scores reflected it - 8:2. With only one additional note - Canada won.
Smiling Phil Esposito was congratulating Russians - "we did everything for you, guys!"
Indeed, to get the gold medals Russian needed to win their last game against Sweden. Every one was thinking the case was done. Soviets wouldn't have any trouble to do it. Unfortunately, USSR players thought the same.

The only exceptions were Heran Hegosta, Sweden goalie, and the hero of my last day question Roland Eriksson.
After the fast goal scored by Vladimir Shadrin, Goran Hogosta stopped everything but the real MVP was Roland who scored all three goals provided 3:0 win to Sweden.

That "redirected" the whole event to the previous scenario by given World champions title to Czechoslovakia.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


This player has been remembered in Russia mostly for just one game he played against the Soviet - the last game of the 197X World championship. His fantastic performance coasted the USSR team the gold medals which dropped out from their hands to indescribable surprise for all hockey World.

He played for Minnesota and Vancouver then has his North American career finished playing with Jets (WHA). His last professional club is Vasteras (Sweden)

I think, it's enough. Tommy, you should name him right away. This is ...

Friday, October 2, 2009


Arthur, you are right as usual even when you "just guessing". This last post goalie is Czechoslovakian Jiri Crha who defected to Canada in 1979 to join Maple Leafs.

The member of Czechoslovakia team at four World Championships he represented his country in 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.
I remember one funny moment (but not that funny for Jiri). During one game (against the USA I guess) it was an action deep in the USA zone. Suddenly to everyone surprise the game was stopped. It took some seconds to realize that the reason to stop the game was - Jiri Crha who was standing with "Ken Dryden famous pose" for a long time. Somehow he managed to fall down (stepping on coin I guess) so badly that he had his leg broken. Again, during the game at the opposite end (!).
This injury was the bad one, Jiri was able to come back to the Czech national team in 1978 only just to fled to the NHL one year latter.

He played until 1993 in Germany. He was 43 years old when he decided to finish his career. It's not necessary to add that we in the Soviet Union had know idea what happened to Jiri from 1979 - he simply "disappeared" from hockey surface by this time.

2/16/80 Jiri Crha becomes the first goaltender to defect to play in the NHL after Curt Ridley was injured. He was 8-7-0 in the 1979-80 season and played well enough to convince the Toronto Maple Leafs to trade Mike Palmateer. He went 20-20-11 in 1980-81 before a disastrous playoff series against the Islanders where he allowed 11 goals in 65 minutes across 3 games.