Bragin will replace Alexei Kudashov, who was Russia’s head coach for the 2019/2020 season and an assistant coach two years before. Bragin will reportedly also replace Kudashov at SKA St. Petersburg. He had joined the club as “senior coach” after the 2020 World Juniors where Russia earned the silver medals after a tight final with Canada.
At the Russian men’s national team Bragin will be assisted by Alexei Zhamnov, Andrei Kozyrev and Alexander Boikov, Rashit Davydov will be the goalie coach.
“To be the head coach of the national team is a great honour and responsibility. A big thank you for the trust of the federation’s leadership,” Bragin said in a statement.
“The system of work at the men’s national team for the search and selection of candidates, the conditions for the development and preparation of the players is ready. Between the national team of all ages there’s a constant connection and continuity. Everything works towards a single goal and the achievement of results. The system of our work is bearing fruits. Especially the results of the junior national teams have become much better than they had been five to seven years before. At the same time we have very much work left.”
Bragin also emphasizes to make the best players playing in Russia ready for the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship especially in case there will be less NHL players available.
Larionov to coach World Juniors team
Hockey legend Igor Larionov, an IIHF Hall of Fame member, will succeed Bragin as head coach of the U20 national team. The 59-year-old is a Triple Gold Club member with four World Championships, two Olympic gold medals and three Stanley Cups.
Larionov entered the coaching stage last season as Bragin’s assistant at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.
He will be assisted by Sergei Golubovich and Vladimir Filatov. Former NHL goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin will be the goalie coach.
“This appointment is a great honour for me,” said Larionov. “The task of replacing a coach such as Valeri Bragin, who headed the U20 national team for many years, is very difficult. I wish Valeri Nikolayevich [Bragin] good luck as head coach of the men’s national team.
“A difficult task gives me additional energy. 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 have gained tremendous experience in the past World Juniors, I am optimistic about entering a new position and want to help our hockey become a leader on the world stage.”
Head coaches of the other teams:
Men's U18 national team: Albert Leshev
Men's U17 national team: Vladimir Potapov
Men's U16 national team: Alexander Titov
Women's national team: Yevgeni Bobariko
Women's U18 & U16 national team: Alexander Syrtsov