Philadelphia Flyers prospect Ivan Fedotov started Friday in the KHL season opener in Russia, an apparent violation of the IIHF ruling regarding the goaltender’s contract.
Fedotov’s contract is in dispute among the NHL, IIHF and Russian Ice Hockey Federation. The IIHF ruled on Aug. 14 that Fedotov could not play in Russia until Jan. 1, 2024.
Fedotov started for his CSKA Moscow team, his first professional game since April 30, 2022.
CSKA's starting goalie for tonight's game — Ivan Fedotov. pic.twitter.com/XKV51jlsw7
— KHL (@khl_eng) September 1, 2023
Before the game, the KHL and CSKA Moscow issued a statement:
“The CSKA team applied for the match and included Ivan Fedotov in the list to participate in the match,” KHL president Alexei Morozov said.
“The KHL accepted the application, the application went through the CIB database, so he will take part in the match. The KHL and the club do not agree with the IIHF decision, which infringes on the constitutional right of a citizen of the Russian Federation to work.
“The General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation came out in defense of the player and sent a warning to the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, the club and the League about the inadmissibility of violating the right to work and ordered Fedotov to be allowed to participate in the competition.”
The Fedotov contract tale remains as murky as midnight in Moscow.
The International Ice Hockey Federation ruled on Aug. 14 that the Flyers’ contract with Fedodov was valid. Fedotov was banned from playing in the KHL or other domestic leagues until Jan. 1. The IIHF ruling gave Fedotov two weeks to return to the Flyers or obtain a release from the team. That two-week deadline has passed.
The IIHF ruled that Fedotov, 26, breached his Flyers’ contract when he signed a two-year deal with CSKA.
The Russian federation appealed the IIHF’s ruling two weeks ago, shortly after it was rendered.
Fedotov signed that two-year contract with CSKA Moscow on July 8. The Kontinental Hockey League registered Fedotov’s contract, effectively closing the door on the goalie playing in Philadelphia next season. Fedotov had signed a deal with the Flyers in May 2022.
The Flyers and NHL submitted an appeal to the IIHF in late July, arguing the contract should be tolled, as Philadelphia requested in June.
Fedotov didn’t play last season because he served his year of required military service in Russia, after reportedly trying to evade service. Fedotov was detained and couldn’t play last season.
The Flyers drafted Fedotov in the 2015 seventh round (188th overall). He is considered one of the best goalies in the world not playing in the NHL.