With the World Championship into the quarterfinal in Germany, we thought it’d be neat to look back at the tournament’s all-time leading scorers.
Not surprisingly, former Soviet players dominate the list, just as the USSR dominated the tournament for more than a generation. From 1954 to 1992, the Soviets won 19 gold medals at the World Championship, including 15 in an 18-tournament span during the USSR’s heyday.
The Soviet hockey machine was so overwhelming its traditional rival, Hockey Canada, boycotted international play during parts of the 1970s on the basis the Soviet players were professionals masquerading as amateurs.
There are a few legendary names on this list sprinkled with some stars of yore from outside the USSR. Here is THN.com’s Top 10 career World Championship scorers.
10. Anatoli Firsov, Soviet Union, 101 points
Four all-star teams in a row.
9. Jiri Holik, Czechoslovakia, 104 points
Uncle to former NHLer Bobby Holik, Jiri Holik leads all players in tournament games played (123) and is tied with two others in A Pool tournaments played (14). He was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1999.
8. Veniamin Alexandrov, Soviet Union, 104 points
Inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2007 (16 years after his death), Alexandrov led the 1966 tournament in scoring with nine goals and 17 points in seven games. The Soviets won silver that year, ending their streak of gold medals at seven.
7. Vladimir Martinec, Czechoslovakia, 110 points
A tournament all-star in 1974, ’75, ’76 and ’77, Martinec is 14th all-time in IIHF games played (289). He was named top forward at the 1976 tournament, when Czechoslovakia won gold and swept the awards.
6. Sergei Makarov, Soviet Union, 118 points
The reason the NHL has a Calder Trophy age limit, Makarov is one of the greatest international performers. He’s fifth all-time with 315 IIHF games played and has 11 World Championship medals, including eight gold.
5. Sven ‘Tumba’ Johansson, Sweden, 127 points
A hero in Sweden, ‘Tumba’ was the first great player for the Tre Kroner. He, too, played in 14 World Championships and was twice named the tournament’s best forward. ‘Tumba’ was the first European to attend an NHL training camp when he tried out for Boston in 1957.
4. Vladimir Petrov, Soviet Union, 154 points
The 2006 IIHF Hall inductee also owns 11 medals from the worlds. The center played in the 1972 Summit Series, scoring three goals and seven points in the eight games, while playing an important checking role against the likes of Phil Esposito.
3. Alexander Maltsev, Soviet Union, 156 points
Another veteran of the Summit Series, Maltsev is third all-time with 12 medals, nine of which were gold, in 12 tournaments. He’s also fourth all-time in IIHF games played with 316.
2. Valeri Kharlamov, Soviet Union, 159 points
The legendary Kharlamov just may be the greatest Soviet player to ever hit the ice; so great his ankle was the target of Bobby Clarke’s slash in ‘72, which effectively knocked him out of the Summit Series. Kharlamov was also the highest-scoring Olympian until Teemu Selanne passed him this year in Vancouver. Kharlamov’s 105 games at the worlds are tied for eighth all-time; he was a four-time tournament all-star.
1. Boris Mikhailov, Soviet Union, 169 points
Mikhailov captained the Soviets to five gold medals in the ’70s and coached Russia to another in 1993. He was twice named top forward, while playing on the USSR’s top line with Kharlamov and Petrov. When Mikhailov retired he was carried around the rink on his teammates’ shoulders.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.
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