from the 1972 Summit Series
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
On this date in 1989 hockey history was made, as Vladislav Tretiak became the first European player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Two Canadian goals before the game was seven minutes old only seemed to reinforce the scouts opinion on Tretiak, which would soon change, as the Canadians would manage just one more goal for the remainder of the contest as the Soviets came alive and pummeled the startled Canadians 7-3.
Although he was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 1983 , it was at a time when Soviet players were not allowed to leave for the NHL. Tretiak would spend 15 full seasons playing for Central Sports Club of the Army (CSKA), or as more commonly known, the "Red Army".
Internationally, Tretiak's resume would show three Olympic gold medals (1972 - Japan, 1976 - Austria and 1984 - Yugoslavia), ten World Championship gold medals (1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 & 1983) and gold medals in the European Championships nine times. In addition he would be named the winner of the Golden Hockey Stick as the most outstanding player in all of Europe in 1981, 1982 and 1983.
Another career highlight is the 1975-76 Red Army tour of North America, where the Red Army faced off against various NHL club teams, the first time any Soviet club team had faced an NHL team, and came away with dominant victories over the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins and a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, but the most memorable game was a New Year's Eve contest against the Montreal Canadiens, that season's eventual Stanley Cup Champions, that ended in a 3-3 tie with Montreal out-shooting Red Army 38-13 in a game considered by many to be one of the greatest games ever played.
The many highlights of Tretiak's career appear over and over again of the IIHF list of the Top 100 Stories of the 20th Century. The Soviets victory over Canada in the 1981 Canada Cup ranks as #9, the New Year's Eve game with Montreal #23, the shock opening game of the 1972 Summit Series as #3 and the Soviets victory over the NHL All-Stars in the 1979 Challenge Cup as #36. Even the defeats of the Soviets during the Tretiak era were so uncommon that they merit recognition on the list as well. A loss to Poland in 1976 was #39, the conclusion of the 1972 Summit Series was #2, the loss to the USA in the 1980 Olympics was #1, their loss to the Czechs in 1972 was #5 and in 1974 was #67.
An unknown 20 year old, Tretiak was the starting goaltender for the Soviet National Team as the historic 1972 Summit Series began in Montreal. Since the Canadian scouts had only seen him play once, a dismal performance in which he allowed eight goals against due to excessive celebrations at his bachelor party the night before, he was dismissed as no threat to the best professionals Canada had to offer.
His continued outstanding play in the first half of the series earned him a tremendous amount of respect and admiration as the Soviet showed that they were able to compete with the Canadians. Eventually Canada would prevail in the series by the slimmest of margins, but Tretiak's reputation had been cemented by his play in the series.
During his 15 seasons in the Soviet Hockey League, Tretiak and Red Army would win the championship 13 times and finish runners up the other two. Tretiak was also named the First Team All-Star Goalie 14 consecutive seasons and league MVP five times. Outside of the Soviet Union, Tretiak and the club would take home the European Cup 13 times.
He would also participate in two Canada Cups, earning a bronze with a depleted squad in 1976 and gold in 1981 where he would be named the tournament's MVP. His final goals against average in 98 international games was an outstanding 1.78.
After his early retirement in 1984 at the age of 32, ranked as #37 in the Top 100 Stories of the Century by the International Ice Hockey Federation, due to his desire to face a new challenge and play in North America and the Soviet authorities refusal to grant him permission, the strain of the eleven month a year commitment required by the Soviet hockey system plus friction with his coach Viktor Tikhonov, Tretiak would finally make his way to North America, having been hired by the Chicago Blackhawks as goaltender coach in 1990.
He would become the first Soviet-trained player to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and the first European voted in without ever having played in the NHL. His induction would be ranked as #55 on Top 100 Stories of the Century. In 2000 he would be voted the Best Russian Hockey Player of the 20th Century and named the Goaltender for the IIHF Centennial All-Star Team. Tretiak would be elected as the head of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation in 2006.
The IIHF Centennial All-Star Team announcement honoring Valeri Kharlamov, Tretiak, Slava Fetisov, Borje Salming, Wayne Gretzky and Sergei Makarov.
Today's featured jersey is a 1970 Soviet Union Vladislav Tretiak jersey. The owner of this fantastic piece of hockey history dates this jersey as having been worn from 1970 to 1972, up until the 1972 Summit Series when they Soviets wore a brand new set of sweaters.
Tretiak would have then worn this beginning at the age of 17 at the 1970 European Junior Championships (gold), followed by the World Championships (gold) as well as the Izvestia Cup (silver). In 1971 the cycle would be repeated with the European Juniors (gold), World Championships (gold) and Izvestia Cup (gold). The routine would change in 1972 with first the Olympics in Sapporo, Japan (gold) followed by the World Championships (silver) later in the spring. If in fact worn for each of those tournaments, which is entirely feasible as all those tournaments would total 34 games in all for both the red and white sweaters, this would have been a gold medal winning jersey six times and a silver twice out of eight tries, making this perhaps the most accomplished sweater in hockey history!
There is an interesting story about Tretiak's subsequent 1972 Canada Cup white sweater, as it was swiped by a young man named Doug Duke following a Soviet practice in Canada, and Duke was able to show it to Tretiak years later.Today's first video is his introductory video from Tretiak's Hall of Fame induction.
Vladislav Tretiak reunited with his white sweater
from the 1972 Summit Series
from the 1972 Summit Series
Here are highlights from the memorable game between the Red Army and the Montreal Canadiens on New Year's Eve in 1975.