Russia men's national ice hockey team

The coat of arms of Russia is the badge used on the players jerseys.
Nickname(s) Красная Машина
(The Red Machine)
Association Russian Hockey Federation
Head coach Ilya Vorobiev
Assistants Anvar Gatiyatulin
Alexei Kudashov
Igor Nikitin
Alexei Zhamnov
Captain Pavel Datsyuk
Team colors               
Current IIHF 3 1
Highest IIHF 1 (first in 2009)
Lowest IIHF 7 (2004)
First international
 Russia 2–2 Sweden 
(Saint Petersburg, Russia; 12 April 1992)
Biggest win
 Russia 12–3 Great Britain 
(Bolzano, Italy; 26 April 1994)
 Russia 10–1 Kazakhstan 
(Riga, Latvia; 6 May 2006)
 Russia 10–1 Denmark 
(Moscow, Russia; 12 May 2016)
 Russia 10–1 Italy 
(Cologne, Germany; 7 May 2017)
Biggest defeat
 Finland 7–1 Russia 
(Helsinki, Finland; 22 April 1997)
 Czech Republic 7–1 Russia 
(Moscow, Russia; 20 December 1997)
IIHF World Championships
Appearances 26 (first in 1992)
Best result Gold (1993, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014)
World Cup
Appearances 3 (first in 1996)
Best result 4th (1996, 2016)
Appearances 7 (first in 1994)
Medals Gold (2018)[1][lower-alpha 1]
Silver (1998)
Bronze (2002)
Medal record
Representing  Russia
Olympic Games
2018 PyeongchangTeam as OAR
1998 NaganoTeam
2002 Salt Lake CityTeam
World Championship
1993 Germany
2008 Canada
2009 Switzerland
2012 Finland/Sweden
2014 Belarus
2002 Sweden
2010 Germany
2015 Czech Republic
2005 Austria
2007 Russia
2016 Russia
2017 Germany/France

The Russian men's national ice hockey team (Russian: Сборная России по хоккею с шайбой) is the national men's ice hockey team of Russia, overseen by the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia. As of 2018, they are rated second in the IIHF World Ranking.[1] The team has been competing internationally since 1992, and is recognized by the IIHF as the successor to the Soviet Union team and CIS team. The Russian team is a member of the so-called "Big Six", the unofficial group of the six strongest men's ice hockey nations, along with Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and the United States.[2] The European nations of the Big Six participate in the Euro Hockey Tour, which Russia won seven times since 2005.[3] Russia has 84,270 ice hockey players registered with its ice hockey federation,[4] about 0.05% of its population. The head coach is Ilya Vorobiev, who has been coach since 2018.

Since the establishment of the team, Russia has participated in every IIHF World Championships tournament and every Olympic ice hockey tournament, winning five world championships and one Olympic gold.[lower-alpha 1]



The Allrussian Hockey League was founded by some clubs in the Russian Empire and entered the International Ice Hockey Federation in 1911.[8] However, probably due to misunderstandings ("hockey" was identified with bandy in Russia, not with the modern ice hockey rules developed in Canada) the Russian team was excluded from the organization. There were no matches involving a team from Imperial Russia.[9]

Interest in this exotic sport grew in the Soviet Union in the 2nd half of the 1940s. The first reactions were skeptical; one sports journal, Physical Culture and Sports, characterized it as such: "The game is quite individual and primitive, with few combinations, not as in bandy. Therefore, Canadian hockey should not be cultivated into our country..."[9] However, Canadian hockey became more and more popular in the Soviet Union.

The first Soviet Championships League was introduced in 1946. Two years later the Muscovian team defeated LTC Praha in their very first international game. In 1952, the Hockey Federation of the USSR joined the International Ice Hockey League, and so received the permission to play in the World Championships and the Olympics. That year is seen as the birth of the Soviet national ice hockey team, the predecessor team of the Russia men's national ice hockey team.[10] The Soviets won the 1954 Ice Hockey World Championships, and two years later they won gold at the 1956 Winter Olympics.[8]

From then until the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the "Red Machine" (Russian: Красная Машина; Krasnaya Mashina) was one of the most dominant teams in international play, winning nearly every World Championship and Olympic tournament.[11][8] Until 1977, professional players were not able to participate in the World Championship, and it was not until 1988 that they could play in the Winter Olympics. The Soviet team was populated with amateur players who were actually full-time athletes hired as regular workers of a company (aircraft industry, food workers, tractor industry) or organization (KGB, Red Army, Soviet Air Force) that sponsored what would be presented as an after-hours social sports society hockey team for their workers.[12][13]

After the USSR's Dissolution

The Soviet Union dissolved shortly before the 1992 Winter Olympics, so a Unified Team largely consisting of the former Soviet republics competed instead. The CIS national ice hockey team, consisting of 21 Russians players, 1 Lithuanian, and 1 Ukrainian, competed as part of this Olympic delegation, winning the gold medal under the Russian and former Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov. In later years, the IIHF recognized this gold medal as being won by the Russian national team, rather than by the CIS, despite the Russian hockey federation having not been formed until over two months after the tournament.[5][6] However, the International Olympic Committee has never recognized Russia as being Olympic champions in hockey.

Russia joined the IIHF as an independent state on May 6, 1992, along with 10 other states, including seven other former Soviet republics. Unlike the others, which applied as new member states and had to begin playing at the bottom tiers of the World Championship, Russia was allowed to replace the Soviet Union in its position, and was thus entered into the elite division for the 1992 World Championship.[14] Russia's first actual games after the Soviet dissolution were a series of five friendly games between Sweden, Germany and Switzerland, all taking place in April 1992, the debut game taking place on 12 April 1992 against Sweden, which ended in a 2–2 draw.[15] At the World Championships Russia lost to Sweden in the quarterfinals, 2–0. They won the 1993 World Championship, their first as Russia and 23rd including the USSR's totals.

The Post-Soviet Drought

As the USSR fell apart, so did Russia's Elite Hockey Program. At the 1994 Winter Olympics they finished fourth overall, losing the bronze medal match to Finland. Russia also competed at the 1996 World Cup, the successor tournament to the Canada Cup, though several players on NHL teams refused to play and the team lost in the semi-finals to the eventual winner, the United States. They were missing several players for the 1998 Winter Olympics as well, but reached the gold medal match, ultimately losing to the Czech Republic.[16]

The Russian Resurgence

The Bykov Period

After failing to win the Gold Medal between 1993 and 2007, the Russians restructured the national league as the KHL[17] and hired the 1993 Champion, Vyacheslav Bykov as the head coach.[18] Another 1993 champion, Sergey Federov was named as the team captain.[19] As a result, Russia won the 2008[20] and 2009 World Ice Hockey Championships with perfect records.[21] The Russians would make another stellar run in 2010, losing to the Czech Republic in the finals. However the disastrous 2011 season led to Bykov's removal. In the 2014-2015 season, Bykov was able to redeem himself when he led SKA, St. Petersburg to the finals of the Gagarin Cup.[22] He currently serves on the board of directors for the Swiss National Hockey League.

Bilyaletdinov at the Helm

Bykov was replaced with Bilyaletdinov, under whose leadership Russia won the 2012 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships with yet another perfect record.[23] However, as a result of the 2013 Championship and 2014 Olympic performances, Bilyaletdinov was replaced with Oleg Znarok, the head coach of the Moscow Dynamo. Bilyaletdinov returned to his home in Kazan, coaching Ak Bars Kazan, one of the best teams in the Kontinental Hockey League.[24]

The Znarok Years

Znarok approved the choice, leading the Russians to the Gold Medal in the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championships, with a perfect record.[25] The 2014 tournament result set the most perfect records in the IIHF World Championships.[26] For this accomplishment, the Russian men's national ice hockey team was honored in the Kremlin in 2014.[27]

In each subsequent tournament, Russia earned a medal, including the Silver Medal in 2015, and the Bronze Medals in 2016 and 2017. The team also reached the semifinals of the World Cup, losing to Canada, the eventual champions.

In 2018, the Russian Olympic Committee was disqualified by the International Olympic Committee for doping, but the Russian National Team was allowed to participate under the Olympic flag as the Olympic Athletes from Russia, and could recruit any professional Russian hockey players with no previous drug violations, and a consistent history of drug testing. The team won the gold medal after a 4–3 overtime victory over the German team in the final. In its post-Olympics World Ranking, the IIHF considered this to be a result of the Russian team.[1]

After the Olympics, Znarok was moved in a consulting role with the Russian National Team. He can retire as Russia's most decorated modern head coach, with a World Championship, an Olympic Gold Medal, and a Euro Hockey Tour Victory under his belt. His only criticism was that he favored SKA and CSKA for national player selection.[28]

Vorobiev as Head Coach

Ilya Vorobiev was hired as the interim head coach of the Russian National Hockey Team, and been given the tasks to win the Euro Hockey Tour and the 2018 IIHF World Championship. His contract will be reviewed in June. Vorobiev served on the coaching staff of Metallurg Magnitogorsk since from 2012 to 2017, and on the Russian National Team's coaching staff from 2015 until March 2018 as an assistant coach, and currently serves that role as a head coach. Under Vorobiev, the Russian Team had a 1-5 record at the European Hockey Tour, which contrasts sharply with Znarok's 5-1 record.[29] Vorobiev became the first Russian head coach to hold a 6-8 overall record after the Euro Hockey Tour and the World Championship, and the first to hold a 1-8 record against the other top six hockey teams. Russia's sixth place finish was unseen since 2013, which contributed to Bilyaletdinov's dismissal as head coach.

Tournament record

Olympic Games

19561988As part of  Soviet Union
1992, AlbertvilleAs part of Unified Team
1994, Lillehammer84402624Viktor TikhonovAlexander Smirnov4th
1998, Nagano65102612Vladimir YurzinovPavel Bure Silver
2002, Salt Lake City63211914Viacheslav FetisovIgor Larionov Bronze
2006, Turin85302518Vladimir KrikunovAlexei Kovalev4th
2010, Vancouver42201613Vyacheslav BykovAlexei Morozov6th
2014, Sochi5320138Zinetula BilyaletdinovPavel Datsyuk5th
2018, PyeongchangAs  Olympic Athletes from Russia[1]
6510279Oleg ZnarokPavel Datsyuk Gold

World Championship

1992Prague / Bratislava, Czechoslovakia5th place
1993Dortmund / Munich, GermanyGold
1994Bolzano / Canazei / Milan, Italy5th place
1995Stockholm / Gävle, Sweden5th place
1996Vienna, Austria4th place
1997Helsinki / Turku / Tampere, Finland4th place
1998Zurich / Basel, Switzerland5th place
1999Oslo / Lillehammer / Hamar, Norway5th place
2000Saint Petersburg, Russia11th place
2001Cologne / Hanover / Nuremberg, Germany6th place
2002Gothenburg / Karlstad / Jönköping, SwedenSilver
2003Helsinki / Tampere / Turku, Finland7th place
2004Prague / Ostrava, Czech Republic10th place
2005Innsbruck / Vienna, AustriaBronze
2006Riga, Latvia5th place
2007Moscow / Mytishchi, RussiaBronze
2008Quebec City / Halifax, CanadaGold
2009Bern / Kloten, SwitzerlandGold
2010Cologne / Mannheim / Gelsenkirchen, GermanySilver
2011Bratislava / Košice, Slovakia4th place
2012Helsinki, Finland / Stockholm, SwedenGold
2013Helsinki, Finland / Stockholm, Sweden6th place
2014Minsk, BelarusGold
2015Prague / Ostrava, Czech RepublicSilver
2016Moscow / Saint Petersburg, RussiaBronze
2017Cologne, Germany / Paris, FranceBronze
2018Copenhagen / Herning, Denmark6th place

World Cup

1996 World Cup of Hockey52301919Boris MikhailovViacheslav Fetisov4th
2004 World Cup of Hockey42201211Zinetula BilyaletdinovAlexei Kovalev5th
2016 World Cup of Hockey42201110Oleg ZnarokAlexander Ovechkin4th

Euro Hockey Tour

The Euro Hockey Tour started in 1996, between the quartet of European nations of the Big Six nations of ice hockey. It ran continuously ever since, and is currently in its 22nd season. The usual format is to have the teams play against each other four times, once in Finland, once in Russia, once in Sweden, and once in the Czech Republic. Sometimes there are deviations from the format, if additional nations, such as Canada, are invited to compete. Russia won 5 out of the last 10 competitions.

Tournament summary

  • Czech Hockey Games:
    • Gold medal (2002, 2006, 2007, 2009 (April), 2011)
    • Silver medal (2001, 2005, 2009 (September), 2013 (August))
    • Bronze medal (1997, 2000, 2003, 2012, 2017)

Russia's League Euro Hockey Tour (EHT) Cup Medal Table

Tournament Gold Silver Bronze Medals
Karjala Tournament 5 5 8 19
Channel One Cup 11 5 5 21
Oddset Hockey Games 5 3 10 18
Czech Hockey Games 5 4 5 14
Total 26 19 28 71

Team EHT Medal Table

Country Gold Silver Bronze Medals
 Finland 9 6 6 21
 Russia 7 6 5 18
 Sweden 4 6 3 13
 Czech Republic 2 4 8 14
Total 22 22 22 66

EHT 2017-2018 Standings

Pos Team Pld W OTW OTL L GF GA GD Pts
1  Finland 12 8 1 1 2 37 25 +12 27
2  Czech Republic 12 6 1 0 5 32 31 +1 20
3  Russia 12 6 0 1 5 31 22 +9 19
4  Sweden 12 6 0 0 6 28 30 2 18
5  Canada 6 2 0 0 4 11 16 5 6
6   Switzerland 3 0 0 0 3 6 12 6 0
7  South Korea 3 0 0 0 3 4 13 9 0
Source: Euro Hockey Tour[30]

Other tournaments


Current roster

Roster for the 2018 IIHF World Championship.[31]

Head coach: Ilya Vorobiev

No. Pos. Name Height Weight Birthdate Team
3DDinar Khafizullin1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)84 kg (185 lb)January 5, 1989 SKA Saint Petersburg
4DVladislav Gavrikov1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)97 kg (214 lb)November 21, 1995 SKA Saint Petersburg
7FKirill Kaprizov1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)87 kg (192 lb)April 26, 1997 CSKA Moscow
11FSergei AndronovA1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)86 kg (190 lb)July 19, 1989 CSKA Moscow
13FPavel DatsyukC1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)88 kg (194 lb)July 20, 1978 SKA Saint Petersburg
15FArtem Anisimov1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)86 kg (190 lb)May 24, 1988 Chicago Blackhawks
19FPavel Buchnevich1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)88 kg (194 lb)April 17, 1995 New York Rangers
22DNikita Zaitsev1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)89 kg (196 lb)October 29, 1991 Toronto Maple Leafs
25FMikhail Grigorenko1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)95 kg (209 lb)May 16, 1994 CSKA Moscow
29FIlya Kablukov1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)88 kg (194 lb)January 18, 1988 SKA Saint Petersburg
30GIgor Shestyorkin1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)85 kg (187 lb)December 30, 1995 SKA Saint Petersburg
31GIlya Sorokin1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)78 kg (172 lb)August 4, 1995 CSKA Moscow
41FNikita Soshnikov1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)85 kg (187 lb)October 14, 1993 St. Louis Blues
44DEgor Yakovlev1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)83 kg (183 lb)September 17, 1991 SKA Saint Petersburg
51DAlexei Bereglazov1.94 m (6 ft 4 in)92 kg (203 lb)April 20, 1994 Metallurg Magnitogorsk
55DBogdan Kiselevich1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)94 kg (207 lb)February 14, 1990 CSKA Moscow
63FEvgenii DadonovA1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)84 kg (185 lb)March 12, 1989 Florida Panthers
66FIlya Mikheyev1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)88 kg (194 lb)October 10, 1994 Avangard Omsk
78FMaxim Mamin1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)91 kg (201 lb)January 13, 1995 Florida Panthers
83GVasily Koshechkin2.00 m (6 ft 7 in)110 kg (240 lb)March 27, 1983 Metallurg Magnitogorsk
87FMaxim Shalunov1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)90 kg (200 lb)January 31, 1993 CSKA Moscow
88DNikita Tryamkin2.02 m (6 ft 8 in)116 kg (256 lb)August 30, 1994 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg
89DNikita Nesterov1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)83 kg (183 lb)March 28, 1993 CSKA Moscow
94FAlexander Barabanov1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)89 kg (196 lb)June 17, 1994 SKA Saint Petersburg
97FNikita Gusev1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)76 kg (168 lb)July 8, 1992 SKA Saint Petersburg

Coaching history

  • 1994 – Viktor Tikhonov
  • 1998 – Vladimir Yurzinov (Pyotr Vorobyov, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov)
  • 2002Viacheslav Fetisov (Vladimir Yurzinov, Vladislav Tretiak)
  • 2006 – Vladimir Krikunov (Vladimir Yurzinov, Boris Mikhailov)
  • 2010 – Vyacheslav Bykov (Igor Zakharkin)
  • 2014 – Zinetula Bilyaletdinov (Valery Belov, Dmitry Yushkevich, Igor Nikitin, Valeri Belousov, Vladimir Myshkin)
  • 2018 – Oleg Znarok (Harijs Vītoliņš, Ilya Vorobyov, Rashit Davydov, Igor Nikitin, Alexei Zhamnov)
World Championships
World Cup

See also


  1. 1 2 Some controversy exists over how many Olympic gold medals should be attributed to the Russian national team. The IIHF and Ice Hockey Federation of Russia consider Russia to have won gold at the Olympics twice, attributing the 1992 gold medal victory to the Russian national team as the immediate successor of the CIS team, as well as the 2018 gold medal victory by the Russian team.[5][6] However, the International Olympic Committee does not recognize Russia as ever having won the gold medal in an Olympic tournament, as the 1992 and 2018 tournaments were won by athletes from the Unified Team and Olympic Athletes from Russia delegations, respectively, and not by a Russian delegation.[7]


  1. 1 2 3 4 "World Ranking released". International Ice Hockey Federation. 25 February 2018.
  2. "NHL announces World Cup of Hockey for 2016". The Canadian Press. 2015-01-24. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  4. "Russia IIHF". Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  5. 1 2 IIHF (2008). "Team with no name wins Olympic gold". Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  6. 1 2 IIHF. "OLYMPIC ICE HOCKEY TOURNAMENTS, MEN". Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  7. IOC (2018). "ICE HOCKEY MEN". Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  8. 1 2 3 Stepan Chaushyan (2013-12-10). "Олимпийские надежды: сборная России по хоккею" [Olympic Hopes: The Russian Hockey Team] (in Russian). Argumenty i Fakty. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  9. 1 2 "Строительство "красной машины". Часть 1" [The Construction of the "Red Machine". Part 1] (in Russian). Russian Hockey Federation. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  10. IIHF (2008). "Soviets hammer Canada, win gold at their first Worlds". Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  11. IIHF (2008). "Team with no name wins Olympic gold". Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  13. Coffey, p. 59
  14. IIHF (2008). "Breakup of old Europe creates a new hockey world". Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  15. All Matches of the Russian Team (1991-1992)
  16. Nadel, Mike (1998-02-22). "Czechs Win Hockey Gold". Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  30. "Channel One Cup". Euro-Hockey-Tour. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  31. 2018 IIHF World Championship roster
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