Hall of Fame forward Igor Larionov has been named head coach of Team Russia for the 2021 World Junior Championship, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced Friday.
"This appointment is a great honor for me," Larionov said. "The task of replacing a coach such as Valeri Bragin, who headed the U20 national team for many years, is very difficult."
Larionov was an assistant under Bragin at the 2020 world juniors. Bragin, who served as Russia's bench boss at the event for the last six years, will instead coach the national team at the 2021 World Championship, which is set for May 7-23, 2021 in Belarus and Latvia.
"A difficult task gives me additional energy," Larionov said. "We have many good players who are on the radar of the U20 national team. I see that our team has very big potential. ... I am optimistic about entering a new position and want to help our hockey become a leader on the world stage."
Larionov, 59, captured three Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002) while playing for the Detroit Red Wings. He was a member of the "Russian Five," a nickname given to the group of Russian players from the Soviet Union that played for the club in the 1990s.
The 5-foot-9 pivot won two Olympic gold medals for the Soviet Union in 1984 and 1988 and was an integral member of the Soviet squad that captured the 1981 Canada Cup.
Russia earned silver at the 2020 world juniors, losing to Canada in the final. The 2021 tournament is scheduled for Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2021 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.