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Vladislav Tretiak
Hockey Hall of Fame, 1989
Vladislav Tretiak.JPG
Tretiak in May 2008
Born 25 April 1952 (1952-04-25) (age 67)
Orudyevo, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight 200 lb (91 kg; 14 st 4 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for CSKA Moscow
National team Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union
NHL Draft 138th overall, 1983
Montreal Canadiens
Playing career 1968–1984

Vladislav Aleksandrovich Tretiak (born 25 April 1952) is a Russian former goaltender for the Soviet Union national ice hockey team. Considered to be one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the sport, he was voted one of six players to the International Ice Hockey Federation's (IIHF) Centennial All-Star Team in a poll conducted by a group of 56 experts from 16 countries. He is the current president of the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia and was the general manager of the Russian 2010 Winter Olympic team.

Early years

Tretiak grew up in a Soviet family, with his parents being from Sumy, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. His father served 37 years as a military pilot, and his mother was a physical education teacher. Although he initially followed his brother as a swimmer, as a child Tretiak excelled at many sports, and is remembered for his ambition to master all of them. However, like many children of his generation, he loved hockey, and at age 11 entered the Children and Youth Sports School of the Central Sports Club of the Army (known by its abbreviation CSKA). His first trainer was Vitaly Erfilov. He began playing goaltender when he saw that no one else had the desire or courage to play the position.

International playing career

Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for  Soviet Union
Olympic Games
Gold 1972 Sapporo Team
Gold 1976 Innsbruck Team
Gold 1984 Sarajevo Team
Silver 1980 Lake Placid Team
World Championships
Gold 1970 Sweden Team
Gold 1971 Switzerland Team
Gold 1973 Soviet Union Team
Gold 1974 Finland Team
Gold 1975 West Germany Team
Gold 1978 Czechoslovakia Team
Gold 1979 Soviet Union Team
Gold 1981 Sweden Team
Gold 1982 Finland Team
Gold 1983 West Germany Team
Silver 1972 Czechoslovakia Team
Silver 1976 Poland Team
Bronze 1977 Austria Team
NHL Challenge Cup
Gold 1979 New York City Team
Canada Cup
Gold 1981 Canada Team

Despite Tretiak not playing his first hockey game until the age of eleven (1963), he was well known in the USSR by 1971 (aged 19), when he was named to the Soviet Ice Hockey League's First All-Star Team, while playing for the powerhouse Red Army team, CSKA Moscow. He also played well in the 1972 Winter Olympics, in which the Soviets took the gold medal.

Tretiak became internationally famous after his outstanding performance in the Summit Series in 1972, when he helped surprise the world, including the Canadian team, en route to a narrow loss to the Canadians. A famous story was told of how Canadian scouts seriously underestimated his ability prior to the series; they witnessed him let in eight goals on a particular night, not knowing that he had been married the previous evening (and most of the team had been in attendance). Of the entire Soviet roster, Canadian players and fans held Tretiak in the highest regard and respect and Tretiak was one of the most famous players of the Series along with Phil Esposito, Paul Henderson, and Valeri Kharlamov. As a result of Tretiak's stellar performance, many NHL teams wanted to draft him – Montreal ultimately did, in 1983 – and Tretiak was willing, but the move was blocked by the Soviet government.

During the 1976 Super Series, Tretiak put on a dominant performance against the Montreal Canadiens, holding them to a 3–3 tie despite his team being outshot 38–13.

Tretiak went on to star for the Soviet Union, helping them win gold medals in the 1976 Winter Olympics, and again winning gold in the 1984 Winter Olympics and the 1981 Canada Cup. Tretiak also back-stopped the Soviets to ten IIHF World Championships victories and nine in the IIHF European Championships.

In the 1980 Winter Olympics, the Miracle on Ice denied Tretiak a chance at another gold. Tretiak was pulled by Viktor Tikhonov at the end of the first period in favor of Vladimir Myshkin, after giving up a late goal with only one second left in the period, by Team USA's Mark Johnson. The Soviet team had left the ice for the dressing room, thinking the period was over, so Tikhonov sent out Myshkin, along with three Soviet players, to officially end the period. Myshkin remained in goal for the rest of the game because of the uncharacteristic weak performance of Tretiak in the first period. Tretiak, along with many other Soviet players, hated the move by Tikhonov. Tretiak himself stated that the move cost him a gold medal, insinuating that he would not have let in the goals that Myshkin allowed; had he won that game, he would only have needed to secure a draw against Sweden two nights later for the Soviets to win gold. The Soviet team settled for silver, as they had the second-highest number of points in the tournament.

Though he was only 32 in 1984 and still capable of playing top-level hockey for many more years, Tretiak retired. It is said that he wanted to spend more time with his family and asked Tikhonov for a training regime, in which he could live at home and come to the training camp before games. Since the rest of the team spent most of their time away from home in the training camp, Tikhonov refused. This move by Tikhonov contributed to Tretiak's decision to retire.

Post retirement

Tretiak was one of the guests who spoke at the ceremony during which the Montreal Canadiens retired the jersey number of Ken Dryden on 29 January 2007. Dryden had been one of Team Canada's goaltenders during the 1972 Summit Series, opposite Tretiak.

Tretiak retired in 1984, fittingly following a 2–0 victory over Czechoslovakia. He was awarded Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1984). In 1987 Tretiak wrote an autobiography, Tretiak, The Legend. He was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989, the first Soviet player to be so honored and to be inducted as a player without having played a game in the NHL.

In 1990, Mike Keenan hired Tretiak as a goaltender coach for the Chicago Blackhawks, which allowed him to coach some of the top goalies of the past 20 years, such as Ed Belfour, Dominik Hašek, and Jocelyn Thibault. Keenan was so impressed with Tretiak's abilities in practice that he suggested the 38-year-old might still be able to play in the NHL. Tretiak personally said that coaching was the next best thing to playing in the NHL. After leaving the Blackhawks, Belfour wore uniform number 20 as a tribute to Tretiak until his retirement in 2008. Numerous other goalies, including Evgeni Nabokov, wear number 20 as a tribute to Tretiak.

In 2000, he was voted Best Russian Hockey Player of the 20th century. He was a vital cog for some of the most dominant hockey teams in history and is now considered one of hockey's greatest ambassadors.

Tretiak was elected to the State Duma as a member of the United Russia party in December 2003, representing the region of Saratov. He is chairman of the State Duma Committee on Physical Culture, Sport, and Youth.

He continued to work for the Chicago Blackhawks until the start of 2006-07 season. On 25 April 2006 (his 54th birthday), Tretiak was elected head of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, capping his rise to the pinnacle of the Russian hockey elite. He obtained 93 out of the possible 96 votes, with the remaining three voters abstaining. A few days later, on 28 April, the Governor General of Canada awarded Tretiak the Meritorious Service Medal in a ceremony at Rideau Hall. Tretiak earned the award for, among other things, his founding of the Friends of Canada organization to foster good relations between Canada and Russia. He was the first Russian to be conferred this honor.

He also runs a goalie school at the Canlan Ice Sports in Toronto, Ontario. Called the Vladislav Tretiak Elite School of Goaltending, it is considered one of the most physically punishing goaltending schools in the world, and students can be refused admittance if not in top physical condition. He also ran a goalie school in Montreal during the 90's where he trained many famous NHL goaltenders such as Jose Theodore and Martin Brodeur. Tretiak also ran a goalie hockey camp in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota in the early 2000s.

On 28 March 2007, Tretiak went to Ottawa to discuss with Canadian officials the possibilities of holding another Summit Series during the summer of 2007, which would be 35 years after the initial event. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov had also discussed with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the possibilities of holding another event. In the end, a series was held in September 2007 between the national junior teams of Canada and Russia.

On 21 December 2012, he voted in favor of “Dima Yakovlev Law” in Russian State Duma. This legislation bars the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens. The legislation was the response to the Magnitsky bill.

Tretiak was the final torchbearer in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and lit the Olympic Flame during the opening ceremony along with Irina Rodnina.

Personal

Tretiak married his wife Tatiana (born 1950) on August 23, 1972, six weeks after they met. Their first son, Dmitri, was born the following year and their daughter, Irina, was born 3 years later. Tatiana is qualified as a Russian literature teacher, although she no longer works. Tretiak is a devout Russian Orthodox Christian.


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