TORONTO -- Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov was all smiles as he breezed through the hotel lobby here Tuesday, waiting somewhat impatiently for his prized teenage clients to arrive.
Larionov found out hours before we saw him that he has officially been certified by the NHLPA to be a player agent in the NHL. He already received his certification to be a player agent in the Kontinental Hockey League six months ago.
"It took me a while, but I got the e-mail today," Larionov told NHL.com. "It feels good. It's a new adventure for me. I started in this last year after I resigned from the KHL's Board of Directors. I want to see young players play and guide them through to the NHL."
With his certification official, Larionov can relax and watch his clients, Sarnia Sting forwards Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, participate in this week's Research, Development and Orientation Camp.
A year from now, he will likely find himself working out entry-level contracts for each client after they become first-round draft picks.
Yakupov is considered to be the top player eligible for the 2012 Entry Draft. He was the Rookie of the Year in the Ontario Hockey League with 101 points (49 goals, 52 assists) in 65 games. While playing for Team Russia, Yakupov had a hat trick in the bronze medal game at this year's World Juniors.
Galchenyuk had 83 points on 31 goals and 52 assists in 68 games for Sarnia last season. He's a 6-foot-2 center who skated for Team USA at the recently completed Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia. Galchenyuk's father, also named Alex, grew up playing in the Soviet Union and later represented Belarus in international competition, including the 1998 Olympics.
Larionov said he gets to Sarnia often to see his clients play.
"Detroit to Sarnia is a real easy trip," Larionov said.
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