Igor Larionov Named Russian U20 Team Head Coach

Igor Larionov (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Igor Larionov (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
Igor Larionov
Igor Larinov #8 (Mandatory Credit: Robert Laberge /Allsport) /

Over the weekend, former Detroit Red Wing and legendary Russian 5 member Igor Larionov was named coach of the Russian World Junior Team.

Larionov has been called on to lead the Russian U20 World Junior Team for the next 2 seasons in preparation for the 2022 Olympics in China.

With the move Larionov will be replacing long-time Russian coach Valeri Bragin who will be moving up to coach the Men’s National Team.

Since his retirement Igor has continued to stay involved in hockey in multiple ways.  In 2008-2009 he was the Director of Operation for the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg.  Then became a player agent for Russian prospects, most notably Alex Galchenyuk  and Nail Yakupov along with others currently making their way into the NHL.

This is a move that will likely create a lot of excitement for a younger generation of Russian players.  Known as “The Professor” during his NHL days for his elite hockey IQ, Igor has always thought the game at a completely different level then his peers.  Using that to help teach these top level prospects along with his calming demeanor, ability to communicate articulately, and deliver his message firmly works well with today’s athlete.

Russia is positioning itself to get back into the conversation as one of the powerhouse hockey countries.  It has been 10 years since one of their teams has won a World Junior Gold medal.  The national stage is one of the most important competitions to Russia.  They have had success in recent years finishing in 2nd or 3rd place, but that will not satisfy a hockey crazed country like Russia.  Also consider Finland has surged into one of the elite Power 5 countries (Canada, Sweden, USA, Russia) competing for golds in recent years.

Gold Medal Breakdown

U20 World Juniors from 2010-2020, here is the breakdown on Gold medals:

  • Canada – 3
  • United States – 3
  • Finland – 3
  • Sweden – 1
  • Russia – 1

It will be interesting to see just how much influence Larionov will have on Team Russia overall.  Will he be what they need to get over the hump to become the next Finland taking everyone by surprise not only by winning gold medals but also developing their players into top NHL draft picks i.e Kaapo Kakko, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Miro Heiskanen and Patrik Laine

Time will tell…