Other International Stars
Edward Ivanov
Russia

Edward Ivanov had a North American first name, and he played a North American style of defense. He was a defensive defenseman who loved to play physically. He would do anything - sacrifice his body, block shots, clear the front of the net - in order for his team to win.

Ivanov had a tough time making the Soviet national team however. National team coach Anatoli Tarasov was weary of Ivanov's reputation as having "gone against the sports regime."

But Ivanov persisted. He called up Tarasov at home and practically begged him for a chance to make the team. Tarasov shrugged him off. A couple of weeks later Ivanov showed up Tarasov's home, and again Ivanov was dismissed without the answer he had come looking for.

Ivanov came back to the house, this time accompanied by his wife. After much hesitation, Tarasov agreed to give Ivanov a chance.

Edward started at the bottom and worked his way to the top. He started as a spare defenseman, but soon he was paired with one of the greatest Russian defensemen of all time - Alexander Ragulin. Ivanov's play quickly improved with the guidance of Ragulin. Soon Ivanov was considered one of the best players in the country.

Tarasov wrote the following about Ivanov in his book Road to Olympus:

"Like an experienced warrior, he has many fine qualities, courage, and decisiveness. He is entirely dedicated to hockey, he is in love with the game, he thirsts for battle."

I don't think a hockey player on either side of the Atlantic could get a better quote from his coach..