Grigory Mkrtychan

Note the goalie in this picture. That is Grigory Mkrtychan, the first goaltender of note in Soviet hockey history.

Mkrtychan, Russian born to Armenian parents, was the first goalie for CSKA Moscow. He helped CSKA win the first three Soviet hockey league titles in 1948, 1948 and 1950.

Vasily Stalin, son of Josef Stalin, rose to power with a team called VVS. He simply could pluck the best players around the country and stock his team to an almost unfair advantage. When a Latvian goalie named Harry Mellups died in a plane crash, Stalin simply transferred Mkrtychan to VVS to become the new goalie there. Mkrtychan would lead VVS to Soviet league titles in 1951, 1952 and 1953.

VVS dissolved after 1953, allowing Mkrtychan to return to CSKA. He would win three more league titles - in 1955, 1956 and 1958.

Mkrtychan also represented the Soviet national team for 22 games, winning 20. In that time he won an Olympic gold medal in 1956, World Championship gold in 1954 and 1956 and silver in 1955. 

By the way, the others in the photo above are (from left to right): Vladimir Nikanorov, Mkrtychan, Mihail Orehova , Yevgeney Babich, Anatoly Tarasov, Vsevolod Bobrov and Vladimir Venevcev.

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