Vsevolod Bobrov

1 Dec 1922
1 Jul 1979
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Vsevolod Mikhailovich Bobrov (Russian: Всеволод Михайлович Бобров; 1 December 1922 – 1 July 1979) was a Soviet athlete, who excelled in football, bandy and ice hockey. He is considered one of the best Russians ever in all of those sports.

Bobrov was born in Morshansk. After serving in the Soviet Army during World War II he was invited to play football for the Army club CSKA Moscow in 1945.

Playing until 1953 for CSKA, VVS, and Spartak, he would go on to win the Soviet Championship three times, scoring 97 goals in only 116 games. Bobrov led the country in goals in 1945 with 24 and 1947 with 14. In 1945, Vsevolod was a guest player for Dynamo Moscow’s tour of Great Britain, and drew rave reviews after scoring six goals as the Russian club played against teams including Chelsea, Arsenal, and Rangers.

He was capped three times for the Soviet Union national team representing them in the 1952 Summer Olympics. He scored five goals in total, including a hat trick against Yugoslavia.

Bobrov began playing hockey for CSKA a year after his football start, in 1946. His playing career in this sport lasted until 1957, with the years between 1950 and 1953 spent with VVS. Although football was Bobrov’s first sport, his success in ice hockey was even greater. In 1950, a plane crash almost killed the entire Soviet national ice hockey team. Bobrov survived the crash as he overslept and travelled by rail.

In the Soviet Championship, that his teams won seven times, Vsevolod scored an amazing 254 goals in only 130 games.

He played for the Soviet national team in the 1956 Winter Olympics, becoming one of the few athletes to participate in both the Summer and Winter games. Bobrov proceeded to lead his country to the gold medal, and also won the World Championship in 1954 and 1956.

Overall, he scored 89 goals in 59 games for his country. In Russian ice hockey, his name was given to an exclusive list of players, the Bobrov Club, who scored over 250 goals during their career.

Bobrov, who served as a player-coach in both sports during his time with VVS, would go on to coach various teams after retiring as a player in both football and ice hockey. In the latter, he coached the USSR in the 1972 Summit Series and then led them to the World Championship in 1974 and 1975.

Vsevolod Bobrov died in Moscow in 1979. He was elected to the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 1997, the first year it was created. For the greatest Russian athlete in the 20th century, Bobrov finished third behind football goalkeeper Lev Yashin and Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin.

Kontinental Hockey League has a division bearing his name.

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