Russian hockey boss seeks clarity over detained star
The Russian Ice Hockey Federation has asked government officials to clarify the situation surrounding goaltender Ivan Fedotov, who was detained in St. Petersburg on Friday. The 25-year-old was reportedly held on suspicion of attempting to evade military service, and it has since been reported that he has been sent to a navy center in northern Russia.
“The Russian Ice Hockey Federation is monitoring the situation with the goalkeeper of the Russian national team Ivan Fedotov regarding his service in the army. The federation has contacted government agencies to clarify the details of the case,” read a statement from president Vladislav Tretiak, a former three-time Olympic champion goaltender.
The details surrounding Fedotov’s case are still emerging, although various Russian media reports indicate that he is in the city of Severodvinsk on the shores of the White Sea in the northern Arkhangelsk region.
TASS previously cited a source as saying that the player was in Severmorsk in the Murmansk region further north, with claims that he could be sent to Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Circle to perform his military service.
An official from Russia’s Northern Fleet told RIA Novosti on Monday that Fedotov had not been enlisted and was only at a naval training center.
“In the Northern Fleet, we don’t have such a serviceman as Ivan Fedotov, he has entered the training unit of the Navy,” the representative said.
“When there is a distribution [of students] after the training and he enters the Northern Fleet, then we can talk about his service. Now he is only studying.”
Reports indicate that Fedotov will remain at the training center until at least September, after which his destination will be decided.
The situation has cast considerable doubt over Fedotov’s plans to head to the NHL in America, where he signed a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers in May after his contract at CSKA Moscow ended.
While at CSKA, Fedotov helped the team to the 2022 Gagarin Cup title – the KHL’s equivalent of the Stanley Cup – and won the league’s ‘Goalie of the Year’ accolade.
Fedotov was also on the Russian team which won the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics back in February.
There have been claims in the Russian media that Fedotov’s current predicament may have emerged because of a dispute with former team CSKA Moscow, a sporting institution which is traditionally associated with the Russian military.
Fedotov’s lawyer Alexey Ponomarev has dismissed any wrongdoing with regard to military service, which is obligatory for Russian men between the ages of 18 and 27 unless they have a valid exemption.
Ponomarev said a legal appeal had already been launched on behalf of his client to cancel his apparent drafting for military service.
Fedotov was seen being detained on Friday in St. Petersburg, where he had been carrying out individual training ahead of his planned move to the NHL.
He was taken ill later that day while at a military conscription office, reportedly with gastritis, and was transferred to a navy hospital by ambulance.
However, he was later moved to the north of Russia, with conflicting reports over where exactly he ended up.
Commenting on the case on Monday, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said that he was ready to help the Ministry of Defense with any details regarding the case, but that people must “live by the law.”
“The issue of the life of military personnel is within the competence of the Ministry of Defense. If they need any assistance, we will provide it. We are in close contact with colleagues from the Ministry of Defense, we will do everything necessary,” said Matytsin.
Fedotov’s proposed NHL employers the Philadelphia Flyers have said they are “aware” of the reports of his detention and are monitoring the situation.