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Valeri Borisovich Kharlamov ( ; January 14, 1948 - August 27, 1981) was a star ice hockey player from the Soviet Unionmarker and is considered one of their greatest players. He died in a car accident. He was voted one of six players to the International Ice Hockey Federation's (IIHF) Team of the Century in a poll conducted by a group of 56 experts from 16 countries. His only son Alexander was also a hockey player.

Playing career

Born in Moscow, Soviet Unionmarker (now Russia), Valery Kharlamov, despite being relatively small in size, is regarded by many as one of the greatest masters of the game. He combined speed, rapid acceleration, and superb stick handling ability together with creative and unpredictable moves that kept the opposition perpetually off balance.

Kharlamov began systematic training to play hockey at age 14, when he was admitted to the Children and Youth Sports School of CSKA on Leningradsky Prospekt, where his first trainers were Vitaly Erfilov and Andrei Starovoitov. Now it's Valery Kharlamov Specialized Children and Youth Sports School of the Olympic Reserve. At the age of twenty he was invited to the Soviet Union's national team to compete on the world stage. In 1971, playing in the Soviet Union Elite League for CSKA Moscow, his goal scoring earned him his first "Best Sniper Award" and he was voted to the national All Star team. The following year, Kharlamov gained international recognition when he led his national team to the Gold Medal at the 1972 Winter Olympics. He capped off the remarkable season by winning the scoring competition and being given the first of his two consecutive Soviet Union MVP Awards.

Summit Series

However, it was during the 1972 Summit Series that Valery Kharlamov, along with teammate Vladislav Tretiak, became the star of the hockey world. At Montrealmarker, Canada, in game one of the eight game international series against the best professionals from Canada, a virtually unknown Kharlamov astonished Canadian fans and their star hockey team with his explosive speed, agility, and goal scoring prowess. Kharlamov was voted the game's MVP after he scored two goals while leading his team to an upset victory that shook the foundations of Canadian professional ice hockey to the core.

Kharlamov was also the most penalized Soviet player in the series, his minutes exceeded only by Canadians Bobby Clarke and J. P. Parisé, who had an altercation with an official.

In game six of the fiercely fought series, Canada's Bobby Clarke, of the Philadelphia Flyers, slashed Kharlamov on his left ankle, causing a fracture. Although Kharlamov bravely continued in game six, he was unable to play in game seven and was ineffective in the final game. Some observers say that this injury was a crucial incident which turned the tide of the series in Canada's favour as they entered it three games to one in the series. Commentators believed that constant slashing of Kharlamov was in order to neutralize his goal scoring threat. Years later, John Ferguson, Sr., an assistant coach with Team Canada, was quoted as saying "I called Clarke over to the bench, looked over at Kharlamov and said, 'I think he needs a tap on the ankle.' I didn't think twice about it. It was Us versus Them. And Kharlamov was killing us. I mean, somebody had to do it."

By the end of the series, National Hockey League scouts were drooling at the thought of recruiting Kharlamov, but during this Cold War era, no Soviet Union player was allowed to leave the country. The respect for Kharlamov's skills was so high that at the time many Canadian children named him as one of their favorite players, and in the Soviet Union he was a national hero and an inspiration for youngsters playing the game.

Later career and death

In 1973, playing with the CSKA team of the Soviet Union's premier league, Kharlamov remained a star and was a key part of the Soviet national team that won the World Championship for the next three years. At the 1976 Winter Olympics, he scored the game winning goal in the final game to earn his second Olympic gold medal. During the North American tour, while playing against the Philadelphia Flyers in a memorable exhibition game, Kharlamov was knocked out by a hard hit from the Flyers' Ed Van Impe, causing his teammates to leave the ice in protest.

Later that spring, he was seriously injured in a car accident and for a time, his hockey career seemed in doubt. He was unable to play in the 1976 Canada Cup and, though he recovered sufficiently to return to the Soviet national team in the coming years, he was never again the player he once had been. He was a part of the Soviet Union team that lost to the "Miracle on Ice" U.S. team in the medal round at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, but won the silver medal. In August 1981, another automobile accident took his life at the age of thirty-three. Valeri Kharlamov is interred in the Novokuntsevskoe Cemetery in Moscow.

In 1998, Valery Kharlamov was posthumously inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame.

In November 2005, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Famemarker along with Cam Neely and former Hockey Canada president Murray Costello.

Each year, the Kharlamov Trophy is awarded to the best Russian NHL player as voted by all Russian NHL players.

The Kontinental Hockey League has a division bearing his name.

American journeyman hockey player Todd Harkins portrayed Kharlamov in the 2004 movie Miracle about the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team's medal round win over the Soviet Union.

Awards

Career highlights - team:

Career highlights - personal:
  • National awards:
    • MVP USSR League 1972, 1973
    • USSR All Stars 1971-1976, 1978
    • Scoring champion (goals) 1971
    • Scoring champion (points) 1972
  • International awards:
    • Voted "Best Forward" at the 1976 World Championship
    • IIHF All Star: 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976
    • Inducted into Hockey Hall of Famemarker in 2005


Trivia

  • Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk wears the #17 in his honour.
  • Russian star Evgeni Malkin wears the #71 (reversed 17), also in honour of Kharlamov.
  • His mother, Begoña, was a Spaniard basque. She was one of the niños de la guerra (war children) that arrived to the USSR as war refugees during Spanish Civil War.


Career statistics

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1967–68 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 15 2 3 5 6
1968–69 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 42 37 12 49 24
1969–70 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 33 33 10 43 16
1970–71 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 34 40 12 52 18
1971–72 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 31 24 16 40 22
1972–73 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 27 19 13 32 22
1973–74 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 26 20 10 30 28
1974–75 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 31 15 24 39 35
1976–77 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 21 18 8 26 16
1977–78 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 29 18 24 42 35
1978–79 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 41 22 26 48 36
1979–80 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 41 16 22 38 40
1980–81 HC CSKA Moscow USSR 30 9 16 25 14
USSR totals 401 273 196 469 312


See also



References

  1. IIHF Centennial All-Star Team
  2. Хоккей на AllHockey.Ru - Валерий Харламов: 60 лет со Дня рождения
  3. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0349825/


External links




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