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9 Sep, 2022 13:44

Russian hockey giants deny rumors in star’s military service scandal

Goaltender Ivan Fedotov is in military training in the north of Russia
Russian hockey giants deny rumors in star’s military service scandal

Russian ice hockey club CSKA Moscow has refuted reports that it is negotiating a contract with Ivan Fedotov, the team’s former goaltender who is undergoing military training after being accused of attempting to dodge national service.

Fedotov, 25, was detained in St. Petersburg in early July amid claims that he had attempted to avoid mandatory military service.

The goalie had been set to move to the North American NHL after signing a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers for next season following the end of his contract with CSKA, whom he helped to the 2022 Gagarin Cup title.

Instead, Fedotov finds himself at a military facility in Russia’s far northern Archangelsk region.

Lawyers for the player – who won silver with his country at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics – have denied any wrongdoing or attempts to avoid military service and have filed an appeal hoping to secure his release.

A preliminary hearing is reportedly scheduled for September 20 in Fedotov’s case.

Reports in recent days have claimed that Fedotov could negotiate another deal with CSKA – an organization with traditional ties to the armed forces – or that the club could then trade him to a rival in the Russia-based KHL, in a potential way of his predicament. 

But in a statement on Friday, the Moscow club firmly rebuffed those claims.

“Due to the appearance of a large number of unreliable, unverified and false reports, CSKA would once again like to bring to the attention of journalists and fans the information that the hockey club has not and is not negotiating a contract with goalkeeper Ivan Fedotov, who is serving in the armed forces of the Russian Federation, nor on the exchange of rights to him with other KHL clubs,” read a message on the club’s website.

“We ask journalists to stop speculating and spreading incorrect coverage of the situation around Ivan,” added the statement.

The issue of Russian hockey players and military service has frequently made the headlines in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, two players avoided jail after they admitted to attempting to pay bribes to secure false military ID documents and dodge service.

Mikhail Vorobyov, 25, of SKA St. Petersburg was fined 2 million rubles ($33,000), while former Salavat Yulaev player Anvar Suleimanov, 22, was handed a suspended five-year prison sentence as part of the investigation.

A third player, Vladislav Lukin, is set to learn the outcome of his bribery case in a trial scheduled to begin on September 22.

There were also concerns that Kirill Kaprizov, one of Russia’s biggest NHL names, could be prevented from returning to American team the Minnesota Wild after being named in speculation regarding fake military IDs.

However, those claims proved entirely unfounded, and the 25-year-old winger has since safely traveled to link up with the team.