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Potential Russia Passport Ban Affects Flyers Players, Prospects

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Matvei Michkov
(Photo: HC Sochi)

The Russian Foreign Ministry is reportedly considering issuing a passport ban, via suspension of consular services, for Russian citizens living abroad, peripherally affecting Philadelphia Flyers players and prospects. This, of course, includes but is not limited to Russian players and prospects of other NHL teams as well.

A report from Novaya Gazeta Europe states that the ban would come into effect this year and would require Russian citizens to return to the country to acquire or renew their passports.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has denied this report. You can read the full article here.

Should the ban become a reality at some point, it could have a significant impact on the Flyers organization. Danny Briere and Co. just spent an arm and a leg in order to retain Russian goaltender Ivan Fedotov, who made a surprise return to North America after completing his military service and playing one season with CKSA Moscow.

Also on the Flyers’ roster is Egor Zamula, a 24-year-old defenseman who played most of his junior hockey in Russia and represented the nation in international competitions.

If or when their passports expire, the Flyers could run into some trouble, particularly when they need to play games in Canada. If Fedotov and Zamula are forced to go back to Russia for their passports, there’s no guarantee they will return.

If you remember, the Minnesota Wild had issues getting Kirill Kaprizov back over from Russia in the past already. A similar process could now be at play for everybody.

It goes without saying that Matvei Michkov is the biggest fish in this situation. The 19-year-old Russian sensation hasn’t moved abroad yet, and should he plan to when his KHL contract expires in 2026, he’ll need one that’s up to date.

Receiving an updated passport should be no issue for Michkov, provided he’s already in Russia, but it might tip off watchful eyes who are anticipating his departure to join the Flyers. If those in Russia do not wish for Michkov to join the Flyers at that time, they’ll have plenty of time to prepare to prevent him from doing so.

A tightened grip on immigration and consular services will certainly be something that is monitored by the Flyers going forward.

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