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Flyers’ Michkov, Zavragin Write to IIHF President Regarding Russia Ban

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Matvei Michkov
(Photo: HC Sochi, KHL via Hockey News Hub/X)

The nation of Russia is currently banned by the IIHF from participating in international competitions, including youth world championships. Well, the young Russians, including a pair of Philadelphia Flyers prospects, have had enough and penned a letter to IIHF president Luc Tardif pleading their case.

The letter, signed by Flyers prospects Matvei Michkov and Yegor Zavragin, claims the Russians are being discriminated against for a political matter that is out of their control.

“We ask you: what have we, the guys born in 2003-2005, done wrong to world hockey?” it says.

“Why is another organization, the National Hockey League, happy to welcome hockey players from ALL countries into the ranks of its clubs?” it continues. “Proudly reports on the records, praises and advertises the game of dozens of our compatriots, without hesitation to say which country they came from. Why are the clubs of the Kontinental Hockey League, despite the difficult political situation, happy to have hockey players from ALL countries on their roster?”

The IIHF previously cited security problems as the reason Russia would not participate in competitions in 2023 and 2024. You can read the full letter, courtesy of Hockey News Hub, here.

This letter, addressed directly to Tardif and the IIHF, was signed by 17 players. Among them are Michkov and Zavragin of the Flyers, 2024 draft-eligible Ivan Demidov, Dmitri Simashev and Daniil But of the Arizona Coyotes, Artem Barabosha of the New Jersey Devils, and Mikhail Gulyayev of the Colorado Avalanche.

The Flyers already have a case open with the IIHF over the contractual situation with Ivan Fedotov.

Obviously, this ban is a great disappointment to the Flyers organization, Flyers fans, and supporters of other clubs and players who would otherwise be playing and representing their nation; not necessarily proudly. The kids are making their case because they just want to play hockey against other kids, who also happen to be some of the best in the world at what they do.

This also partly why Michkov fell to the Flyers in the draft to begin with. Now, it’s up to the Flyers prospect and his countrymen to fight for the privilege to play.

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