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A Russian Hockey Player Who Recently Signed with the Philadelphia Flyers Has Been Detained in Russia

By: Anya Li

According to Russian media outlets, a Russian hockey player has been arrested on suspicion that he planned to evade military service, which is required for at least one year for young men in the country. Reports say he was arrested at a St. Petersburg hockey rink on Friday and taken to an army enlistment office.

Ivan Fedotov signed with the NHL team the Philadelphia Flyers on May 7 and was expected to compete for a spot on the roster later this year. He played for the Russian Olympic Committee in the 2022 Winter Olympics held in Beijing, China, where he helped the team earn a silver medal.

Fedotov, aged 25, was born in Finland, but spent most of his youth in Russia. He spent last year with CSKA Moscow, one of the top teams in KHL, Russia’s leading hockey league. The team has a history of ties with the Russian army.

Russian goalies have become more prominent in the NHL in recent years. Besides Fedotov, others include Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Igor Shesterkin of the Rangers, and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers. Many NHL teams are eager to find the next top Russian goalie, although this incident may cause some concerns.

Just this year, Fedotov helped CSKA Moscow win the Gagarin Cup, the KHL’s championship. He was recognized as the best goalie in the league with 2.00 goals against average. When the Flyers signed him, he mentioned his recent success and improvement since the team drafted him.

“Ivan is a player we have followed closely and are very pleased with his development,” Chuck Fletcher, Philadelphia’s president of hockey operations and general manager, said, “He’s put a number of strong seasons together in the KHL, culminating this year when he captured an Olympic silver medal and a KHL Championship.”

The National Hockey League said they were aware of the situation. Fletcher said the Flyers were also aware of what happened and are actively investigating.

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