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2 Aug, 2022 11:58

Location of Russian hockey star clarified after US re-entry fears

Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov had reportedly faced obstacles in re-entering the US
Location of Russian hockey star clarified after US re-entry fears

Fans of NHL team the Minnesota Wild are breathing a sigh of relief today amid news that star winger Kirill Kaprizov has returned to the United States, following reports that he had previously been wanted by Russian authorities for evading military service requirements, and that he had been denied entry to the US on two recent occasions. 

It was reported last month that Kaprizov had allegedly obtained a counterfeit military service ID and that he had left Russia for Dubai, but that he had been denied entry to the United States from there due to not possessing the correct type of visa for his entry.

This came after many Russian and European players were permitted to play in the NHL without a visa during the Covid-19 pandemic due to backlogs in obtaining the correct paperwork. But with these rules now rescinded, it is thought that several players have struggled to secure the correct documentation. 

Kaprizov was also reportedly denied entry by US immigration officials on a second occasion, this time when trying to fly out of a Caribbean island. 

However, the reports related to Kaprizov's military requirements were countered last month by his father, Oleg Kaprizov, who said that his son's status as a student granted him a deferment - although further reports suggested that this exemption expired on June 30. 

But per ice hockey insider Michael Russo of The Athletic, Kaprizov has been admitted to the US - and he added that the reports that the player had obtained a fraudulent military service card were off the mark.

Russo wrote that Kaprizov left Russia via Turkey last week for New York, and that he is expected to arrive in Minnesota on Tuesday. 

It remains unclear if Kaprizov's entry was due to the Wild obtaining a work visa for him, or if he was able to secure another deferment of his military duties. 

Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold and the team's general manager, Bill Guerin, had previously expressed concern at Kaprizov's situation. 

Kaprizov has been a huge success since he landed in Minnesota. Last season he secured 47 goals and 61 assists - a franchise record - and was rewarded with a bumper five-year, $45 million contract.