KHL club CSKA Moscow has opted to start Philadelphia Flyers netminder Ivan Fedotov in their KHL regular-season opener today against Ak Bars Kazan, thereby violating the IIHF sanctions laid out against the club last month, as Szymon Szemberg of the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs reports.
The international governing body had ruled Fedotov’s tolled entry-level contract with the Flyers was valid for the 2023-24 season after CSKA Moscow attempted to sign Fedotov to a two-year deal earlier this summer. Fedotov had originally signed with the Flyers in the summer of 2022 but was barred from leaving Russia to complete required military service.
Shortly after the IIHF ruled, the Russian Ice Hockey Federation announced they’d submitted an appeal. That process has not been completed yet, however, and no follow-up ruling has been adjudicated. The KHL released a statement before today’s game, citing their legal grounds for CSKA to play Fedotov based on the Russian constitution’s grant of a citizen’s right to work. KHL president Aleksey Morozov also claimed the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian government warned the KHL and CSKA “about the inadmissibility of violating the right to work.”
As Szemberg notes, this decision will likely continue to further isolate Russian hockey on the international landscape and could further delay their return to international play, even if the country’s illegal invasion of Ukraine ends. With Russian players and teams already barred from participating in international events, Szemberg believes the KHL has nothing to lose by violating IIHF sanctions, as there’s not much more that could be levied against them.