The Summit in 1974

Club 1974:
Krylya Sovetov Moscow

Boris Kulagin
Head Coach, Team USSR 1974

USSR Merited Sports Coach (1969)

Club: Krylya Sovetov Moscow
Born: 12/31/1924 Died: 1988

Boris Kulagin was one of the elite Soviet coaches of the 1970s. His three seasons as Team USSR head coach in 1974-1977 probably won't qualify him to the same category as legendary Tarasov, Chernyshev and Tikhonov with their coaching longevity and numerous international hockey achievements. However, by many accounts, Kulagin definitely belong to the list of the all time top level coaches of the national team.

Kulagin's career as a hockey player wasn't as successful as was his coaching career. For many years, he worked with Anatoly Tarasov as Red Army assistant coach. Kulagin's responsibilities included players selection and evaluation and working with the junior team players. For one thing, it was Boris Kulagin who discovered and kept being persistent about Valery Kharlamov as an upcoming star of the Russian hockey. Needless to say, the "father of Russian hockey" Tarasov wasn't impressed by Kharlamov at all. Kulagin convinced him to give a young player a second chance and Kharlamov was sent to a minor league for a year.

As CSKA assistant coach, Boris Kulagin won 9 USSR titles and had no chance to replace his boss, legendary Tarasov, as head coach of the Red Army team. In 1971, Kulagin decided to go on his own and he the CSKA to become a head coach of underachieving and rather mediocre Krylya Sovetov. Learning craft from Tarasov, natural educational and motivational skills, insider's knowledge of the best young hockey prospects began to pay off for Boris Kulagin.

Kulagin's approach with the new team was genius and simple. The Red Army club had a long bench. Many talented players were simply put on a waiting list to play for the mighty CSKA. Kulagin invited them to join him in the Krylya Sovetov. In a couple of seasons, the club turned into a mixture of experienced steady players rejected by the Red Army club and the new generation of young promising players like Yury Lebedev, Vyacheslav Anisin, Alexander Bodunov (nicknamed the "kids line" in North America), Sergey Kapustin and more. In 1974, Kulagin's team won the USSR Championship and the Cup. He also replaced Vsevolod Bobrov as Team USSR head coach.

By all means, it was the peak of Kulagin's career. The Soviets won the 1974 Summit Series, World and European titles in 1975 and the 1976 Olympics. In 1976 and 1977, Team USSR lost two consecutive world championships which cost Kulagin's job. It marked the beginning of the new era in the Soviet hockey - the era of Victor Tikhonov.



Player's Career:
- Played as a foward with the VVS club, scored 2 goals in 15 games in the USSR Elite Hockey League in 1947-1948
- Played in the USSR Soccer and Bandy Elite Leagues.
Coaching Career:
- CSKA Coach in 1961-1971
- Krylya Sovetov Head Coach in 1971-76
- Spartak Moscow Head Coach in 1979-84
- USSR Gold: 1961-66, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1974
- Team USSR Coach in 1972-1974
- Team USSR Head Coach in 1974-1977
- WC Gold: 1974, 1975
- Winter Olympics Gold: 1976
- Team USSR Coach at the Summit Series 1972
- Team USSR Head Coach at the Summit Series 1974
- Soviet Wings Head Coach at the Soviet Clubs vs. NHL Clubs Super Series in 1975/1976
- National Awards:
USSR Hall of Fame (coach), 1969




The Summit in 1974