Russian hockey star denied entry to United States - media
Kirill Kaprizov, the Russian winger who has played for NHL outfit the Minnesota Wild for the past two seasons, has reportedly been refused re-entry back into the country by U.S. immigration officials twice in recent times.
According to The Athletic, Kaprizov is back in his native Russia after first being turned away by officials following a layover in Dubai. He is then understood to have attempted to enter the United States via Caribbean islands, but was met with the same result.
Kaprizov's travel woes come amid strained relations between Russia and the United States, with the latter launching various sanctions against some Russians in the wake of the country's military operation in Ukraine.
It is thought, though, that Kaprizov may be in possession of an incorrect type of visa.
According to The Athletic's Michael Russo: “He couldn’t clear into the U.S., though, perhaps because he doesn’t currently have a work visa despite signing a five-year contract last September.”
Bill Guerin, general manager of the Minnesota Wild, denied reports earlier this week that Kaprizov had attempted to expedite his return the U.S. following last week's news that Russian goaltender Ivan Fedotov, who had recently inked a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, had been detained by Russian authorities on suspicion of evading military obligations.
Russo's report further states that it is the belief of Kaprizov's father that his son's status as a student should remove him from having to perform military duties - though it appears that this permit may have expired on June 30.
Dean Evason, head coach of the Wild, added that he hopes a resolution to the situation is found before long.
“It’s scary. It’s scary for all of us,” he said.
“It’s a scary situation in our world. To see somebody as close as we know Kirill, yeah, it’s a scary situation. And we hope that it all gets sorted out correctly.”
Kaprizov is one of the biggest stars of Russian ice hockey and has arguably become the Wild's most prominent player since he joined the team almost exactly two years ago.
He remains in the second year of a bumper five-year $45-million contract.