Two Olympic Hockey Players with ties to Kansas City

In a few weeks, the puck will drop on the Olympic hockey tournament. The Olympic hockey tournament is one of the few times that the sport we love takes center stage.

Well, since the Lost City of Bettman blog called me out on my criticism that local park & rec departments are lazy when the weather is consistently below zero, I’ll call him out for overlooking an Olympic hockey player with ties to KC.

It’s wonderful that Missouri Mav Henrik Odegaard will represent Norway in the Olympic tournament.

When the IHL folded and the DeVos’ took their franchise with them, I thought the days of Kansas City professional hockey players playing in the Olympic games were over. Remember when Ville Peltonen, Viktor Kozlov, Jason Cirone, Sandis Ozolinsh and Arturs Irbe played in the 2006 Olympics?

Did you know there is one more player in the 2014 Olympic games with ties to Kansas City?

Viktor Tikhonov will suit up for Team Russia. Viktor is the son of the late Vasily Tikhonov, Blades coach in 1995-1996.

At the time, I believe Vasily was the first Russian to be head coach of a Major North American professional hockey club (he may be the only, admittedly, I haven’t followed AHL or ECHL coaches that closely). He did well and, from my own interactions with the players (yet fuzzy memory), I believe the players really liked him. I know I did. His English wasn’t perfect, but he was polite, respectful and thoughtful in his interviews.

Viktor would have only been seven years old at the time Vasily was coach. While I understand this is a rather obscure reference to a former Kansas Citian, I think it’s important to honor Vasily’s legacy as a former Blades coach — just as we may love to follow Paul MacLean with the Ottawa Senators. I’m sure guys who still live in the Kansas City area and played for Vasily, like Gary Emmons, JF Quintin and Jeff Madill, remember Vasily’s young son.

As far as Vahe Gregorian leaving Viktor out of his story on Odegaard – I appreciate the Star giving Odegaard and the Mavericks high profile attention, I really do. But to completely leave out any reference to Tikhonov shows, once again, there is very little research done at the Star — especially when they happen to do a story about hockey. There couldn’t have been one more line in the story? Here you go:

Former Kansas City Blades coach Vasily Tikhonov’s son, Viktor, will play for Team Russia.
Fourteen words, 86 characters. Heck, it could be a Twitter post. Is that too much to ask? I suppose so…

I, for one, have been rooting for Viktor since he was drafted. With his father, a member of hockey royalty in Russian, passing away last August at the very young age of 56, I hope Viktor has a long, successful hockey career. I also hope he remembers fondly the time his father was head coach in our fair, Midwestern city.

About blogger

Just a guy in KC who loves hockey. KC is a hockey town. We just don't know it, yet.
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