Russian hockey star detained after signing $1m deal with American team is sent to ARCTIC
Russian Olympic hockey star arrested after signing $1 million deal with US team is sent to Arctic naval base to begin forced military service in Putin’s army
- Ivan Fedotov was taken to Siberia naval base overnight after arrest yesterday
- Olympic star, 25, signed a $1.1 million contract with the NHL team last month
- But the sportsman was arrested on the ice rink yesterday on charges of ‘tour avoidance’
- Sudden grabbing and transfer to remote base seen as revenge for relocation plans
The Russian ice hockey star, who was detained on Friday and sent to military service, was transferred overnight to a naval base in the Arctic.
Olympic silver medalist Ivan Fedotov, 25, signed a $1.1 million (£900,000) contract last month to play for US team the Philadelphia Flyers.
But two days ago, he was picked up by plainclothes Russian police officers and taken to an army recruiting office in St. Petersburg.
Fedotov, widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the Russian-Chinese KHL league, has been accused of evading conscription as Russia struggles to recruit soldiers to fight in Ukraine.
Russian Olympic silver medalist Fedotov signed a $1.1 million contract to play in the US in June
A Russian submarine with torpedo equipment is pictured at the Arctic naval base, where Fedotov is now located
Men aged 49 and over are allowed to enlist to fight in Putin’s ‘special military operation’.
Commenting on Fedotov’s arrest, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said the team was aware of the situation but has “no further comment” at this time.
The authorities’ draconian response to Fedotov was widely interpreted as revenge after he planned to quit CSKA, a KHL club in the capital with close ties to the Russian military.
The name translates to Central Sports Club of the Army.
The Russian Northern Fleet Base (hospital ship pictured) is a former Arctic port city
Disturbing footage showed Fedotov confronting police outside an ice rink in St. Petersburg yesterday
After being hospitalized with stress-induced abdominal pain at a city hospital, Fedotov is now reportedly at naval outpost Severomorsk.
The former Arctic port is the headquarters of Putin’s Northern Fleet.
Fontanka news outlet reported that he would be sent to the Russian military instead of the US – and could also face jail time for alleged evasion of conscription.
“He was just arrested ‘for evading the army,'” reported Russian journalist Dmitry Navosha.
Navosha added that Fedotov ‘didn’t realize that’ [the USSR] is back’.
The move has been interpreted as an attempt to punish Fedotov for signing an NHL contract
Russian national goalkeeper Fedotov had signed a contract with NHL side the Philadelphia Flyers
The player’s wife, Nadezhda Korzhneva, 26, an architecture graduate, did not comment on his detention and forced relocation to the military.
Fedotov has been pictured collecting KHL’s Goalkeeper of the Year award last season
Fedotov’s lawyer, Alexei Ponomaryev, told state news agency RIA on Saturday that Fedotov was taken to a recruitment office on Friday and then to a military hospital after falling ill.
“If I understand correctly, he had gastritis from stress,” Ponomaryev said. “Ivan feels bad. He says he’s not getting full medical attention.”
Ponomaryev denied allegations that his client had evaded military service.
Saint Petersburg Police did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for CSKA Moscow told Reuters on Friday that it is awaiting official information from relevant authorities.
“At the moment, Ivan Fedotov is not bound by any contractual obligations with our club,” the spokesman said.
The NHL has cut business ties with Russia but has not banned the more than 50 players on its teams.
The league will not allow the Stanley Cup, the championship trophy, to travel to Russia for a home celebration for Valery Nichushkin of the Colorado Avalanche.