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NHL draft prospect Sergei Tolchinsky ‘waiting for my visa’ so he can join Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

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Sergei Tolchinsky tweeted that he plans to join Sault Ste. Marie (Twitter)

Even as the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds went into crisis management after three forwards were charged with sexual assault, the embattled Ontario Hockey League franchise had something good happen.

The 'Hounds top import pick, Russian winger Sergei Tolchinsky, who made the tournament all-star team in January at the World Under-17 Challenge, stated over Twitter on Saturday that he is planning to take his talents to Northern Ontario. There had been much speculation about whether such a burgeoning talent would go to a small-market team which is coming off successive non-playoff campaigns, but now could just be a matter of completing the paperwork (easier said than done, of course).

This happened prior to news breaking about the criminal charges against the three Greyhounds players. Sault Star beat writer Peter Ruicci wondered if that could affect Tolchinsky's willingness to come. From a vantage point outside of Sault Ste. Marie, it's believable that one would seem to not have much to do with the other.

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Russian winger Sergei Tolchinsky is highly touted for the 2013 NHL draft

Tolchinsky had been advised by Igor Larionov, who wanted him to be traded to another OHL team. That has changed. From Ruicci:

Less than two weeks ago, Tolchinsky, a five-foot-seven, 155-pounder, hooked up with agent Mark Gandler of International Sports Advisors Co.

... Asked if Gandler is as concerned about Tolchinsky playing in a particular geographical location as Larionov was, [Greyhounds general manager Kyle] Dubas answered in the negative.

"He (Gandler) is a little more open. Location hasn't been brought up by Mark," the Soo GM said. "To say that's better for us, is probably accurate."

But with a change in agents, Dubas admitted the Hounds "have had to start the whole recruiting process over." (Sault Star)

What young woman and three players, not to mention all of their families, are going through with the aforementioned court case is more import than its impact on a hockey team. The same goes for the Greyhounds possibly landing a natural goal scorer, but this is a sports blog and the tail wags the dog. It's hard to think of a junior hockey team that could not have used news such as this at the moment.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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